Divorces are twice as large as likely to be affected by dementia compared to people who are married, study claims
- Scientists analyzed the cognitive function of around 15,000 people
- Divorces, especially men, were more likely to develop dementia
- Experts accuse & # 39; various economic resources & # 39; and & # 39; health-related behavior & # 39;
Divorces can be twice as likely to develop dementia, research suggests.
Scientists at Michigan State University have looked at the cognitive function of more than 15,000 people with different marital statuses.
They discovered that divorces, especially men, developed memory robbery more than 14 years earlier than their married counterparts.
The scientists believe that & # 39; different economic resources & # 39; and & # 39; health-related behavior & # 39; partly to blame. Low income and loneliness are increasingly linked to dementia.
The social support that accompanies marriage, as well as the avoidance of the emotional and financial stress of a divorce, has also been associated with better overall health.
Divorces can be twice as likely to develop dementia, research suggests (stock)
& # 39; This research is important because the number of unmarried older adults in the US continues to grow, as people live longer and their marriage history becomes more complex & # 39 ;, said lead author Dr. Hui Liu.
& # 39; Marital status is an important but overlooked social risk / protective factor for dementia. & # 39;
Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK and 5.7 million in the US, statistics show.
Divorce is also common, according to the American Psychological Association: between 40 and 50 percent of married couples in the US who quit.
And in the UK, the Office for National Statistics predicts that 42 percent of marriages that took place in 2012 will end in divorce.
Divorces have previously been linked to health problems. To discover how they affect the brain, the researchers looked at the 15,379 participants in the Health and Retirement Study, which was conducted between 2000 and 2014.
WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a series of progressive neurological disorders, that is, disorders affecting the brain.
There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer's is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience his dementia in his own unique way.
Dementia is a global problem, but it is most often seen in richer countries, where people are likely to live to very old ages.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer's & # 39; s Society reports that there are more than 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, more than 500,000 of whom have Alzheimer's.
It is estimated that by 2025 the number of people with dementia in the UK will increase to more than 1 million.
In the US there are an estimated 5.5 million people with Alzheimer's. A comparable percentage increase is expected in the coming years.
As the age of a person increases, so does the risk of dementia.
The diagnoses are increasing but many people with dementia are still not diagnosed.
IS THERE A CURE?
There is currently no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow their progress and the sooner it is noticed, the more effective are treatments.
Source: Dementia UK
The participants, initially 52 years or older, were divided into groups – married, divorced or divorced, widower, never married and cohabiting.
The cognitive function was measured every two years, both personally and by telephone.
The results showed that all unmarried participants were more likely to develop dementia during the 14 years of the study than their married counterparts.
Divorced men were particularly at risk. This is despite the number of women with dementia compared to men 2: 1 worldwide, according to the Alzheimer's Society.
The researchers claim that & # 39; different economic resources & # 39; partially explain the higher risk of dementia among divorced, widower and never-married participants.
However, these factors do not explain the higher risk for cohabiting couples, she added.
& # 39; Health-related behavior & # 39; had a slight influence on the dementia risk of the divorced and married participants, but did not seem to have any influence on the other marital statuses.
Experts generally believe that what is good for the heart is good for the brain.
One study by Emory University found that married people with heart disease are up to 52 percent less likely to die from the disease than singletons.
The scientists put this down to more company, avoiding the stress of divorce and husbands who complain that they are healthy.
And a team from Tilburg University in the Netherlands discovered that a happy marriage reduces the risk of an early death.
It is thought that this is because men and women are more motivated to lead an active lifestyle. Sedentary behavior is increasingly linked to dementia.
Whatever the reason, the Michigan researchers hope that their research will help health officials identify & # 39; vulnerable population groups &.
& # 39; These findings will be useful for healthcare policy makers and physicians who want to better identify vulnerable populations and design effective intervention strategies to reduce the risk of dementia, & # 39; Liu said.
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