Having more friends and strong social connections can improve brain function, as it can slow brain aging, preserve memory and improve the quality of life, reveals a new study. According to the study, brain function in the hippocampus brain area associated with memory, emotions and motivation markedly declines with age, even in the absence of dementia. Exercise and social ties are known to preserve memory in this region in people.
‘Having more friends can better brain health and memory of an individual.’"Our research suggests that merely having a larger social network can positively influence the aging brain," said lead researcher Elizabeth Kirby from the Neurological Institute at Ohio State University-Columbus, the US.
Tweet it Now
In the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, the team studied two groups of mice aged between 15-18 months for three months, when their natural memory declines.
While one group lived in pairs, which Kirby refers to as the "old-couple model", the other group lived with six other roommates, a scenario that allowed for "complex interactions".
Their memory was tested by making the mice recognize a toy, such as a plastic car which had been moved to a new location.
The results showed that mice who were living in a group had better brain health and memory.
Further, examining the brain tissue of the mice showed increased inflammation in the pair-housed mice, a biological evidence of eroded cognitive health.
Future research should explore the molecular explanations for the connection between socialisation and improved memory and brain health, she noted.