19 February 2009

Ward Off Dementia - Get Out There, Party and Socialize!

LONDON - A recent study says that keeping busy with social events and get-togethers lowers the risk of developing dementia. Lowering stress levels helps, too. The study found that socially active people with resulting lower stress levels had a 50 percent lower risk of developing dementia as compared with people who were alone and/or prone to stress. These findings have been published in the journal NEUROLOGY.

"In the past, studies have shown that chronic distress can affect parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, possibly leading to dementia," said study leader, Hui-Xin Wang of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. "But our findings suggest that having a calm and outgoing personality in combination with a socially active lifestyle may decrease the risk of developing dementia even further...The good news is, lifestyle factors can be modified as opposed to genetic factors which cannot be controlled," Wang said, "but these are early results, so how exactly mental attitude influences risk for dementia is not clear."

The Swedish study involved 506 elderly people who did not have dementia in the beginning. They were given questionnaires about personality traits and lifestyles and then followed for six years. By the end of the study, 144 people developed dementia. The more socially active and less stressed people were 50 percent less likely to be diagnosed with the condition.

Here's my own two cents - don't wait until you are old! Join or form some sort of group that gets together for fun and laughs when you turn 40! If you have a stressful job, this is doubly important!


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