More friends may slow brain age­ing

Post - - LIFESTYLE -

HAV­ING more friends and strong so­cial con­nec­tions may slow brain age­ing, pre­serve the mind and im­prove the qual­ity of life, new re­search sug­gests.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, brain func­tion in the hip­pocam­pus – brain area as­so­ci­ated with mem­ory, emo­tions and mo­ti­va­tion – markedly de­clines with age, even in the ab­sence of de­men­tia. Ex­er­cise and so­cial ties are known to pre­serve mem­ory in this re­gion in peo­ple.

“Our re­search sug­gests that merely hav­ing a larger so­cial net­work can pos­i­tively in­flu­ence the age­ing brain,” said lead re­searcher El­iz­a­beth Kirby from the Neu­ro­log­i­cal In­sti­tute at Ohio State Univer­sity-Colum­bus.

In the study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Fron­tiers in Ag­ing Neu­ro­science, the team stud­ied two groups of mice aged be­tween 15-18 months for three months, when their nat­u­ral mem­ory de­clines.

While one group lived in pairs, which Kirby refers to as the “old-cou­ple model”, the other group lived with six other “room­mates”, a sce­nario that al­lowed for “com­plex in­ter­ac­tions”.

Their mem­ory was tested by mak­ing the mice recog­nise a toy, such as a plas­tic car, which had been moved to a new lo­ca­tion.

The re­sults showed that mice who were liv­ing in a group had bet­ter brain health and mem­ory.

“With the pair-housed mice, they had no idea that the ob­ject had moved. The group­housed mice were bet­ter at re­mem­ber­ing what they’d seen be­fore and went to the toy in a new lo­ca­tion, ig­nor­ing a toy that hadn’t moved,” Kirby said.

Fur­ther, ex­am­in­ing the brain tis­sue of the mice showed in­creased in­flam­ma­tion in the pair-housed mice – bi­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence of eroded cog­ni­tive health. – IANS

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