Loneliness Can Elevate Dementia Risk, Says Study

Recent investigations have pointed out that being socially isolated can increase the risk of dementia. 

Dementia is a set of symptoms that affects a person's memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, and social abilities, so it becomes difficult to cope with daily life activities.

World Health Organisation (WHO) lists dementia as a syndrome that causes deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from the normal consequences of biological aging.

The study researchers discovered that individuals with habits like smoking, excessive drinking, poor sleep, and an absence of frequent exercise had an augmented risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, putting them at great risk of loneliness.

These studies were conducted by experts from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health and were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It declared that socially isolated older adults are at a 27% increased risk of developing dementia than older adults who aren't. All participants in the studies were 65 or older.

A senior research associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Alison Huang, said, "Socially isolated older adults have more diminutive social networks, live alone, and have very less participation in social activities." Addressing this, Mfon Umoh, a postdoctoral fellow in geriatric medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, mentioned, "Basic communications technology is a wonderful means to combat social isolation." He further said, "This study reveals that access and usage of easy technologies are critical elements that protect older adults from social isolation, which is linked with substantial health risks. This is reassuring because it suggests simple interventions may be meaningful."

Bygone decades have witnessed prominence in social isolation, mainly because of the restrictions implemented by the Covid-19 pandemic, hence further research should focus on augmented risks according to biological sex, physical limitations, race, and income level.

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