S u m m a r y :
Marriage may be linked with a lower risk of developing dementia, says a new study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Marriage Lowers Dementia Risk
Get married to protect your mind from dementia! Humans are gregarious by nature—we do not thrive in isolation, and we long for meaningful companionship, something that marriage promises to provide. This relationship that binds together the lives of two people appears to be a shield against neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, suggests a new research that reviews a group of 15 studies investigating the effect of marital status on the risk of dementia; the bulk of these papers involved over 800,000 participants from different parts of the world (Asia, Europe, North and South America).
Single People & Widows Have Higher Risks
The findings show that lifelong singletons were 42% more likely to have dementia than married people. The study authors suggest poorer physical health among this category of people that would result in this condition. On the other hand, when only recent studies are taken into account, this risk decreases to 24%, implying that this link has lessened over time. Why are single people now less at risk remains unknown, though.
Furthermore, widowed people were 20% more at risk to develop dementia than their married counterparts; but this link decreased in intensity when education was taken into consideration. The authors add that bereavement can, sometimes, come with increased stress, leading to the impairment of cognitive abilities.
What About Divorcees?
The analysis show no such effect for divorcees. The researchers point out that this might be partly due to the fact that only few people were in this category, and the smaller sample might have affected the results.
How Does Marriage Protect From Dementia?
Regardless, married people were, generally, found to have a lower risk of developing dementia. The authors, thus, conclude that marriage might help spouses to build healthier lifestyles that would incorporate healthy diets, exercising, and less smoking and drinking, all factors that have been associated with lower dementia risk.
Another possible explanation is that marriage gives more opportunities to socialise with others, another factor linked with decreased dementia risk.