Cognitive Decline Lower In Socially Active People
A new study suggests that people who are socially active and engage in different activities are more prone to have a healthy brain.
Socialization, be it with friends or family, may be better for the brain than even doing crosswords, from what the researchers who participated in the study said. The researchers at Rush University Medical Center who conducted the study went on saying that engaging in different activities such as going to parties, going out with friends or even going to the church, can delay or even prevent cognitive decline in old age. Furthermore, they made sure that cognitive decline is a consequence of social isolation, rather than the reverse. The lead researcher of the study, Bryan James, Ph.D., said that it is logical that when someone’s cognitive abilities are low, they are less likely to go visit friends or go to parties or engage in any type of activity that involves social interaction. It is only normal for someone to socialize when their brain is not working in the proper manner any longer. However, James said that their study shows that social inactivity is the one that leads to cognitive impairments.
More than 1,000 people participated in the study and their average age was of 80. Each and every participant had to undergo a set of tests, in order for the researchers to find out the level of cognitive impairment each participant had. At the beginning of the study, no participant showed signs of cognitive decline. Then, all the participants had to answer some questions related to their social life. Those questions included things like how often they went in day or overnight trips, how often they visited their relatives and friends, how often they went out for dinner at a restaurant and also if they did volunteer work, attended religious service or played bingo. The participants had then to undergo another series of 19 tests, in order for the researchers to assess their mental functioning. Even though at the beginning of the study no participant showed signs of cognitive decline, after 5 years, those who were less socially active showed signs of brain impairment. On contrast, those who spent their time being active from a social point of view, showed less signs of cognitive decline. Still, factors such as old age, physical exercise and health were ruled out in the analysis. These factors may have accounted for the increase in cognitive decline, though.
No one really knows for sure how a socially active life improves the chances of people to maintain a good cognitive function and a healthy brain. However, Bryan James has a theory that says that social activity can challenge old people to engage in different activities which keep their brains functioning the right way. Thus, the more you participate in different activities, the more you talk to your relatives and friends, the less are the chances for your brain to fail you. Bottom line, leading an active life improves not only your body health and well-being, but also your brain functions and that is the main reason for which people should engage more in social activities, whatever that may mean. Going to bingo or even to church seems to have a great impact on our brains and if that is what it takes to have a healthy brain, everyone should do it.11