Marriage may help stave off dementia

In a new study, researchers found dementia and marital status are linked together.

They found married people are less likely to experience dementia as they age.

On the other hand, divorcees are about twice as likely as married people to develop dementia, with divorced men showing a greater disadvantage than divorced women.

The research was conducted by a team from Michigan State University.

About 5.8 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, costing $290 billion, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

In one of the first studies of its kind, the team analyzed nationally representative data from the Health and Retirement Study, from 2000 to 2014.

The sample included more than 15,000 respondents ages 52 and older in 2000, measuring their cognitive function every two years, in person or via telephone.

They analyzed four groups of unmarried individuals: divorced or separated; widowed; never married, and cohabiters.

They found among them, the divorced had the highest risk of dementia.

The finding shows that marital status is an important but overlooked social risk/protective factor for dementia.

This research is important because the number of unmarried older adults in the United States continues to grow, as people live longer and their marital histories become more complex.

The researchers also found differing economic resources only partly account for higher dementia risk among divorced, widowed and never-married respondents, but couldn’t account for higher risk in cohabiters.

In addition, health-related factors, such as behaviors and chronic conditions, slightly influenced risk among the divorced and married, but didn’t seem to affect other marital statuses.

The team says the results will be helpful for health policymakers and practitioners who seek to better identify vulnerable populations and to design effective intervention strategies to reduce dementia risk.

The lead author of the study is Hui Liu, professor of sociology.

The study is published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B.

Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.