August 16, 2021
by NYU Langone Health
Supportive social interactions in adulthood are important for your ability to stave off cognitive decline despite brain aging or neuropathological changes such as those present in Alzheimer's disease, a new study finds.
In the study publishing August 16 in JAMA Network Open, researchers observed that simply having someone available most or all of the time whom you can count on to listen to you when you need to talk is associated with greater cognitive resilience—a measure of your brain's ability to function better than would be expected for the amount of physical aging– or disease-related changes in the brain, which many neurologists believe can be boosted by engaging in mentally stimulating activities, physical exercise, and positive social interactions.
"We think of cognitive resilience as a buffer to the effects of brain aging and disease," says lead researcher Joel Salinas, MD, the Lulu P. and David J. Levidow Assistant Professor of Neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and member of the Department of Neurology's Center for Cognitive Neurology. "This study adds to growing evidence that people can take steps, either for themselves or the people they care about most, to increase the odds they'll slow down cognitive aging or prevent the development of symptoms of Alzheimer's disease—something that is all the more important given that we still don't have a cure for the disease."