SOCIAL CONTACT AND DEMENTIA
ANCHOR LEAD: DOES MORE SOCIAL CONTACT STAVE OFF ALZHEIMER’S? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
People who remain more socially connected as they age seem to experience less cognitive decline and subsequent development of Alzheimer’s disease than less gregarious folks, many observational studies have suggested. But now a Johns Hopkins study seems to refute that conclusion. Arial Green, one of the study’s investigators, describes the findings.
AGREEN: To try answer this question we looked at data from 874 adults in east Baltimore over about 11 years, and what we found is people who interacted with more family and friends on a regular basis had higher scores on tests of recall and overall cognition. And people who felt that they had more emotional support did better in terms of daily functioning, shopping for groceries and preparing meals, but social contact did not appear to confer protection against later cognitive decline. :32
Remaining socially active may help keep depression at bay, however. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.