Social Isolation Increases the Risk of Later Dementia

According to a new study from the University of Warwick, UK, social isolation leads to changes in the brain structures associated with memory, increasing the risk of dementia later.Social Isolation Increases the Risk of Later Dementia

For their study, a team of researchers used neuroimaging data from more than 30,000 participants in the UK Biobank data set and found that socially isolated individuals had lower gray matter volumes of brain regions responsible for memory and learning. Thus, the researchers concluded that socially isolated people are 26% more likely to develop dementia later in life.

Professor Edmund Rolls, a neuroscientist from the University of Warwick Department of Computer Science, says: “With the growing prevalence of social isolation and loneliness over the past decades, this has been a serious yet underappreciated public health problem. Now, in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are implications for social relationship interventions and care — particularly in the older population.”

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