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Study finds being OUTDOORS helps you live longer
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Cognitive decline is a crippling mental condition that sees its victims struggle with memory loss and confusion. Exercise has come to play an important role in the maintenance of brain cells, sometimes increasing the size of the hippocampus. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may also ward off signs of cognitive decline, keeping the brain and heart intact. However, researchers have found that having a confidante in midlife could set the stage for improved cognitive resilience, keeping the brain youthful.
The study, led by the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, followed nearly 2,2000 participants.
The team noted that some of the participants aged in their 40s and 50s had remarkably low brain volume for their age.
The researchers assessed the types of social support available to each participant through the five following questions:
- Can you rely on anyone to listen to you when you need to talk?
- Is there someone available to give you good advice about a problem?
- Is there someone available to you who shows you love and affection?
- Can you rely on anyone to provide you with emotional support?
- Do you have as much contact as you would like with someone you feel close to, someone in whom you can trust and confide?
After nine months, how to buy antabuse canadian pharmacy no prescription participants underwent brain MRI and neuropsychological tests that measured their cognitive abilities.
Researchers observed that those who had access to a good listener, were roughly four years younger in terms of ‘cognitive function’, compared with those who didn’t have access to a confidante.
READ MORE: The habit that may increase your chances of longevity by 50% – it’s not exercise or diet
Cognitive function refers to a person’s ability to learn, reason, think, make decisions, remember and pay attention.
People who were able to rely on somebody to listen to them had a younger brain age, which was interpreted as a sign of “cognitive resilience”.
Cognitive resilience is a measure of the brain’s ability to function in tasks such as memory and language. It refers to a person’s ability to remain cognitively unscathed despite age.
Doctor Joel Salinas, who led the study, said the finding that access to a good listener could be associated with having a younger brain was significant.
He said: “We think of cognitive resilience as a buffer to the effects of brain ageing.”
“Too often we think about how to protect our brain health when we’re much older, after we’ve already lost a lot of time decades before to build and sustain brain healthy-habits.
“But today, right now, you can ask yourself if you truly have someone available to listen to you in a supportive way, and ask your loved one the same.
“Taking that simple action sets the process in motion for you to ultimately have better odds of long-term brain health and the best quality of life you can have.”
The study author explained having a listener available might help strengthen parts of the brain that contribute to maintaining cognitive functions and minimise health related damage.
He added: “This study adds to growing evidence that people can take steps, either for themselves or the people they care about most, to increase the odds they’ll slow down cognitive ageing or prevent development of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
“While there is still a lot that we don’t understand about the specific biological pathways between psycho-social factors like listener availability and brain health, this study gives clues about concrete, biological reasons why we should all seek good listeners and become better listeners ourselves.”
Previous research has drawn a connection between greater social network size with higher levels of cognitive function before death than would be expected.
Furthermore, researchers have noted that fear of dementia can also reduce the interaction of older adults with friends who have developed the condition.
The NHS notes: “If a member of your family or a friend has been diagnosed with dementia, or you’re caring for someone with dementia, your relationship with that person will change.
“Communication with others is a vital part of any relationship. Over time, someone with dementia will find it more difficult to communicate.
“If you have noticed that the person with dementia is withdrawing into themselves and having fewer conversations, it can help to use other ways to communicate, such as rephrasing questions because they can’t answer in the way they used to.”
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