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Hang Out & Do Stuff With Friends: Live Longer & Healthier

If you maintain regular interaction with friends and family, everything in your life will be better.
Angela Troyer, PhD and Professional Practice Chief of Psychology and the program director of neuropsychology and cognitive health at Baycrest Hospital in Toronto, Nicole Anderson PhD and Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Psychology at the University of Toronto and Kelly Murphy PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist at Baycrest and Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto wrote Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Guide to Maximizing Brain Health and Reducing Risk of Dementia.

In synthesizing some of their work, Professor Troyer wrote this: “Did you know that connecting with friends may also boost your brain health and lower your risk of dementia?” She went on to make these four points about social interaction: you may live longer, you will enjoy better physical health; you will enjoy better mental health; and you may even lower your risk of dementia.

In their work, they’ve determined that getting out and doing stuff with friends results in a stronger immune system, and reduces the risk of depression. Further, those interactions are associated with better memory and cognition, or, the construction of the very important brain attribute “cognitive reserve”. (We all want and need a big cognitive reserve.)

Professor Laura Fratiglioni, MD, is a medical doctor specializing in neurology and epidemiology. She and her team of researchers at the Karolinska Institute and the Stockholm Gerontology Research Center, are performing critical research on aging, health and dementia.

Dr. Fratiglioni, along with two associates reported these results from their research:
Taking into account the accumulated evidence and the biological plausibility of these hypotheses, we conclude that an active and socially integrated lifestyle in late life protects against dementia and AD.  (Alzheimer’s Disease).

For those of you who are religious or consider yourself spiritual, you’ll find this research fascinating. A team from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard that included Tyler J. VanderWeele, Ph tracked 75,500 women over sixteen years. The women were all healthy at the beginning. The research including lifestyle and behavior characteristics including attendance at religious services.

They reported these findings:
After multivariable adjustment…attending a religious service more than once per week was associated with 33% lower all-cause mortality compared with women who had never attended religious services. 
And:
Frequent attendance at religious services was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality among women.



I won’t attempt to delve further into results I find rather amazing other to say attending church services requires getting up and out of the house and sharing time with others. Said differently, it is social.

We know the opposite is also true, solitary lifestyles, especially among older adults, is strongly associated with a shorter lifespan.

Put down the remote, turn off the TV and go see some family and friends.

Excerpted from our upcoming book: You Can Grow a Bigger Brain!

www.bigbrainplace offers research-based products to help maintain brain health and grow a bigger brain



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