Social Contact May Help Prevent Dementia

two women embrace and smile


A new study “Impact of social isolation on grey matter structure and cognitive functions: A population-based longitudinal neuroimaging study” by Laurenz Lammer et al. eLife, indicates a lack of quality social interaction can lead to a decrease in the hippocampus’s volume, crucial for memory formation and retrieval, and poorer cognitive performance. However, maintaining a strong social network could help preserve brain structure, providing a potential preventive strategy for dementia onset. The findings underline the importance of targeting those at risk of social isolation with tailored strategies to enhance their social contact.

“Research on drugs targeting dementia development have not yet yielded any results with a clear clinical benefit, offering at most a minor alleviation of symptoms,” says lead author Laurenz Lammer, a MD student at Cognitive Neurology, University Hospital Leipzig and Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.

“Therefore, preventative measures aimed at stopping or delaying the onset of the disease are of utmost importance, and identifying risk factors for developing the disease may be our most promising target.”

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