Inside Out is making waves in theaters worldwide, giving us all a touching new understanding of the roles our emotions play in our lives. Now, a new study concludes that those emotions may be directly linked to dementia and mental decline in the elderly.
As Philly.com reports, the new study followed more than 8,000 aging Americans and tracked their mental decline relative to their own self-reported loneliness or depression.
The research found that those who were lonely suffered mental decline at a rate of 20% faster than the control group. Results were similar for those who said they were depressed.
What the study may show, then, is that seniors can benefit physically from staying socially active as they age. Social engagement helps to combat feelings of loneliness. Additionally, the study may suggest that the elderly should seek mental health treatment, especially if they suffer from depression. Doing so could potentially spare them from crippling mental decline.
As more and more studies come forth, we are beginning to see that dementia and its ilk may very well be whole-body concerns. Treatment and prevention could require a diverse approach, emphasizing everything from vitamins and a healthy diet to social activities and physical exercise.
The good news is that those are very manageable goals, and they all help to promote happiness in and of themselves. We may not yet have a drug to cure dementia, but a prescription for mingling with friends is very good medicine, indeed.