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Tools for advancing research into social networks and cognitive function in older adults

  • Hiroko H. Dodge (a1) (a2) (a3), Oscar Ybarra (a4) and Jeffrey A. Kaye (a1) (a2) (a5) (a6)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 23 October 2013

People are good for your brain. Decades of research have shown that individuals who have a larger number of people in their social network or higher quality ties with individuals within their network have lower rates of morbidity and mortality across a wide range of health outcomes. Among these outcomes, cognitive function, especially in the context of brain aging, has been one area of particular interest with regard to social engagement, or more broadly, socially integrated lifestyles. Many studies have observed an association between the size of a person's social network or levels of social engagement and the risk for cognitive decline or dementia (e.g. see review by Fratiglioni et al., 2004). The dementia risk reduction associated with a larger social network or social engagement shown by some epidemiological studies is fairly large. The population effect size of increasing social engagement on delaying dementia disease progression could exceed that of current FDA approved medications for Alzheimer's disease.

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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
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