Be Social, Save Memory

New research claims that maintaining good relationships with family and friends may prevent age-related memory loss. Reuters reports:
"Our results suggest that increasing social integration may be an important component of efforts to protect older Americans from memory decline," Dr. Lisa F. Berkman from the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston and colleagues conclude in a report in the American Journal of Public Health.

They looked at the impact of social integration on changes in memory over 6 years in 16,638 Americans aged 50 and older enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study. Memory was gauged by immediate and delayed recall of a 10-word list, and social integration was assessed by marital status, volunteer activity, frequency of contact with children, parents, and neighbors.

The average memory score declined from 11.0 in 1998 to 10.0 in 2004, the investigators found.
Healthy social ties are important, Dr. Fuhrman explains in An Emotionally Satisfying Environment is Vital. Here’s a bit:
Humans are complicated creatures, and our minds have powerful effects on healing and wellness. A positive purpose, loving relationships, self-respect, and the power to control our destiny have beneficial effects on our physiological—and ultimately physical—well-being. Few people have the perfect life without any negative stressors, but it makes a difference if you deal with those stressors with hope and action, rather than resignation and passivity.
So, I guess having more ex-girlfriends than fingers and toes wouldn’t be considered cultivating loving relationships. No worries, I’ll just wait for the memory loss to kick in.
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