A recently released study shows a correlation between marriage and a lower risk of dementia. This latest research found that having a spouse might lower this risk while being a widow or single could increase it. A study paper was published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
A Lower Risk of Dementia Now Tied to the Marital Status
The new research was a meta-analysis of 15 other studies which involved around 800,000 people from Europe, Asia, North and South America. After combining this data, the researchers also included factors such as the gender and age.
The study team observed that people who were single and had never gotten married presented a 42% higher risk of developing dementia compared to people who were married. Widowers and widows also had a 20% higher risk.
Previous research found that people who get married have a healthier life compared to those who are single. The study team observed that partners tend to motivate each other to eat healthy, exercise, drink and smoke less, and to maintain social ties. All of these things were linked to a lower risk of dementia.
According to the study team, one reason for which widowers and widows were more likely to develop dementia is the grief of losing their loved ones. This can increase stress levels and affect nerve signaling. Also, grieving can impair cognitive abilities.
Sexual activity is also important in maintaining cognitive abilities. More recent studies showed that unmarried people don’t have such a big risk of developing this neurodegenerative disease. Research targeting individuals born after the 1930s showed that unmarried people were 24% more likely to develop dementia.
Because these studies were observational, the researchers were unable to find a cause-and-effect relationship. Nonetheless, the scientists found a link between marriage and a lower risk of dementia.
Some of the limitations of the research were that the researchers had no information about the period of time the people were divorced, married or widowers. Also, only a small amount of divorced people was involved in this research.
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