Low social engagement can obviously promote dementia

Low social engagement can obviously promote dementia

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Does a lack of social engagement lead to dementia?

Social relationships are essential for healthy aging. Researchers found a connection between a lack of social engagement, an increased risk of cognitive decline and the development of dementia.

When examining the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, it was found that a lack of social commitment is associated with an increased risk of dementia. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry".

Relationship between social engagement and dementia risk

The study found that older people with a low level of social commitment were associated with a higher concentration of amyloid-β in the brain and greater cognitive decline. Social engagement and cognitive function are interrelated and also seem to decrease together. This means that social engagement can be an important factor in preventing dementia in older adults.

217 people were examined for the study

The researchers interviewed 217 men and women who participated in the Harvard Aging Brain Study, which looked for early neurobiological and clinical signs of Alzheimer's disease. The participants between the ages of 63 and 89 showed no cognitive abnormalities, but some had a high content of amyloid-β proteins in the brain. These proteins are considered a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's. Using questionnaires and research, the researchers tried to find out what social engagement among the participants (including activities such as spending time with friends and family or doing volunteer work). In addition, cognitive performance was assessed at baseline and three years later.

Amyloid beta levels play an important role

According to the study results, people with high amyloid beta levels showed a greater cognitive decline when they showed less social engagement than the more socially engaged group. This association was not observed in patients with low amyloid β.

More research is needed

The researchers used a standard measure of social engagement, for example where the effects of digital communication or the qualitative aspects of relationships were not recorded. A more timely and comprehensive assessment of social engagement could be important for future clinical trials on Alzheimer's disease, the authors report. Future studies with follow-up periods of more than three years could determine the cognitive decline over time and help to better understand the complex mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease progression. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Kelsey D. Biddle, Federico d'Oleire Uquillas, Heidi I.L. Jacobs, Benjamin Zide, Dylan R. Kirn et al .: Social Engagement and Amyloid-β-Related Cognitive Decline in Cognitively Normal Older Adults, in American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (query: June 30, 2019), American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Video: Wisdom and Successful Aging - Research on Aging (August 2022).