Skip to Content

Health Tip: Friendships May Stem Cognitive Decline in Seniors

-- Forging new friendships and maintaining old ones may help slow cognitive decline among seniors, the U.S. National Institute on Aging says.

For seven years, researchers at Northwestern University studied a group of so-called "superagers" -- people 80 and older who had maintained long-standing friendships.

The researchers found that the group collectively had memories of past personal events that rivaled people up to 30 years younger.

What's more, the area of the brain called the anterior cingulate -- important for emotions and attention -- showed less cognitive decline among superagers than among others of a similar age group.

Participating in social activities such as visiting friends, volunteering and going on trips has been associated with better brain function, while older people who don't socialize as much have been found to be at increased risk of dementia, the Institute says.

© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: March 2018

Read this next

Older Adults Turning to Pot for Common Health Problems

TUESDAY, Oct. 20, 2020 -- Marijuana is fast becoming a favorite medication among older Americans, a new study finds. Cannabis is being used to ease problems such as pain, sleep...

Pandemic Putting Americans Under Great Mental Strain: Poll

TUESDAY, Oct. 20, 2020 -- COVID-19, health care, the economy, systemic racism and the presidential election are a threat to the nation's mental health, according to an American...

Staying Social Can Boost Healthy 'Gray Matter' in Aging Brains

MONDAY, Oct. 19, 2020 -- Older adults who get together with friends, volunteer or go to classes have healthier brains, which could help them ward off dementia, according to a new...