Dementia is undoubtedly one of the cruellest diseases out there and researchers are always looking at ways to help those living with the condition.
While some studies are looking at ways of completely eradicating the condition that impacts memory, new research has found a surprising thing that can lower the risk of dementia.
According to a paper published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, marriage could actually help when it comes to the loss of brain function.
The research found that people who haven’t been in a relationship for their entire lives are 42 per cent more likely to develop dementia than people who are in a relationship or are married.
It also suggested that there’s 20 per cent more of a risk of dementia for people who have become widowed.
The study suggested that a lack of information and knowledge played a role in the higher numbers in non-married people.
As it stands, 47 million people world-wide are living with dementia, while an estimated 413,106 Australians have the condition.
Speaking to WGNTV, researcher Andrew Sommerlad said that a wedding ring wasn’t what prevented memory loss.
“We don’t think that it is marriage itself or wearing a wedding ring which reduces people’s risk of dementia,” he said.
“Instead, our research suggests that the possible protective effect is linked to various lifestyle factors which are known to accompany marriage, such as living a generally healthier lifestyle and having more social stimulation as a result of living with a spouse or partner.”
He also added that the benefits of marriage extended to an array of other health benefits.
He explained that people who are single or widowed were at higher risk of contracting other health problems that come with ageing: “That increased risk appeared to be similar to other known dementia risks, such as having diabetes or high blood pressure.”
The research drew information from databases and evaluated previous studies of dementia and marital status. Some of the studies classed people in de facto relationships as married. A total of 15 studies of 812,047 people were carried out for the study.
It found that dementia prevention in single people should focus on education and physical health, in addition to the possibility that social engagement can have positive impacts on those living with the condition.