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Meet friends, party to keep brain healthy

An easy way to keep your brain healthy and sharp is to meet friends, attend parties and or just play bingo! Frequent social activities may help prevent or delay cognitive decline in old age.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 27, 2011 18:41 IST

An easy way to keep your brain healthy and sharp is to meet friends, attend parties and or just play bingo!

Frequent social activities may help prevent or delay cognitive decline in old age, says a research conducted by the Rush University Medical Centre.

"It's logical to think that when someone's cognitive abilities break down, they are less likely to go out and meet friends, enjoy a camping trip, or participate in community clubs," says Bryan James, who led the study, reports the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

"If memory and thinking capabilities fail, socialising becomes difficult," added James, post-doctoral fellow at Rush Alzheimer's Disease Centre. "But our findings suggest that social inactivity itself leads to cognitive impairments."

The study included 1,138 older adults with a mean age of 80, who are participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project. They underwent yearly evaluations that included medical history and neuropsychological tests, according to a Rush statement.

Social activity included engaging in social interaction like going to restaurants, sporting events or playing bingo, day trips or overnight trips, volunteer work, visiting relatives or friends, among others.

At the beginning of the investigation, all of them were free of any signs of cognitive impairment. Over an average of five years, however, those who were more socially active showed reduced rates of cognitive decline.

On an average, those who had the highest levels of social activity experienced only one quarter of the rate of cognitive decline experienced by the least socially active individuals.