How might social isolation and dementia risk be linked? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Do you find yourself reluctant to keep up social activities? Turns out not doing so may increase your risk to develop dementia as you get older, so much like an exercise habit, staying socially engaged is a good strategy to maintain health. That’s according to Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, in a recent study of 6000 older adults.

Cudjoe: Social connections are important for our physical health and they’re important for our cognitive health. I think when we think about our lives and we think about the effort that it requires to engage people, it does require cognitive effort and I think when people have social connections they are compelled to continue to leverage all that it takes to maintain these cognitive connections and I think when we’re not engaging and we’re not connecting with people then the use of those neurons and all the processes that go into maintaining our cognition aren’t maintained.  :30

Cudjoe says the risk of not remaining engaged rivals that of cigarette smoking in health risk. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.