A long marriage leads to better brain health : Study

Tuesday, February 14, 2023
a long marriage leads to better brain health : study

Researchers did an analysis of data of 8706 people, who were enrolled in the HUNT study,  to explore if and how marriage impact brain health. The HUNT Study is an ongoing population-based health survey in Norway.

The study found that people who stayed married continuously to one person had the lowest incidence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) compared to those who were divorced or single. Among singles, those with children had lower rates of dementia than those without children. 

Marital status of people between age 44 to 68 was studied for over a period of 24 years  was studied to find if there was a relationship to a clinical diagnosis of dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) after the age of 70.

The researchers also found that factors such as age, sex, education level, health conditions, number of children, mental distress, and having no close friends influenced the likelihood of developing dementia and MCI. 

The study highlights the importance of social and emotional support in maintaining cognitive health and preventing dementia and MCI in old age. “Being married can have an influence on risk factors for dementia,” said lead author Vegard Skirbekk, PhD, at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH-FHI), in a press release.

Doctors and marriage counsellors believe that a stable and happy marriage can bring many benefits to one's life, including physical and emotional health. Having a partner in life can provide emotional support and stability, which can help reduce stress and improve mental health. Besides, marriage can expand one's social network, providing a wider support system and reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

There have been countless studies that have shown that married individuals tend to have better physical health and live longer than single individuals. This may be due to the emotional support, shared responsibilities, and healthier lifestyle choices that often accompany marriage. Marriage often involves dividing household tasks and responsibilities, which can help reduce stress and increase feelings of fulfilment and satisfaction.

Marriage provides an opportunity to share interests and engage in activities together, which can bring couples closer and improve their overall well-being.

But it's important to note that these benefits may vary depending on the quality of the marriage and the individuals involved. A healthy and supportive marriage can bring many positive benefits to one's life, but a troubled marriage can have the opposite effect.

Coming back to the HUNT study, researchers feel that since this study was conducted in Norway, it may not necessarily reflect the findings in other countries or populations. Further research is needed to understand the relationship between marital status and cognitive decline in different contexts and populations.

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