Music and Mass General. These are the two things Andrew Marshall credits with saving his life, leading him to live out his passion for music today as a contestant on “The Voice.”
Having close friendships can help you get through difficult times and provide plenty of company with whom to celebrate the good times. But recent research suggests that maintaining warm, trusting friendships may also help slow cognitive decline and memory problems.
A study published in PLOS One found that the majority of people age 80 and older who have the cognitive ability of people in their 50s and 60s (called Super Agers) report having more high-quality, satisfying friendships than their same-age peers who have fewer close friends. The researchers also measured the cortex in the brain of all participants, and found that the cortexes of Super Agers were larger on average than those of their peers who did not have strong social networks.
While the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between friendships and cognitive ability, other studies have suggested some possible reasons for this association. One is that friendships and other close relationships give a person purpose, even if it’s just to meet for coffee or accompany someone to a medical check-up. Friends can also be good motivators for each other when it comes to exercising. If you and a friend go for a brisk walk every morning, you don’t want to be the one to miss it without a good reason. Likewise, if your friends tend to eat healthfully and live a healthy lifestyle, you’ll be more inclined to do the same.
If you already have some good friends, reach out and help cement those bonds. If you need to make new friends at this point in your life, try to find people who share your interests, whether it’s at a health club, a history lecture or in a class.
This article originally appeared in Mind, Mood & Memory, a publication of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, dedicated to maintaining mental fitness for middle age and beyond.
- Feb | 12 | 2021
After a successful launch on the pediatric inpatient units, the Journals of Hope Program has expanded into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where patients and families can find strength and hope through the power of writing.
- Jan | 22 | 2021
Dismorfia de Zoom: Cómo las llamadas frecuentes por Zoom podrían estar cambiando la forma en que nos percibimos a nosotros mismos
Al principio parecía inofensivo, pero a medida que la pandemia continúa, no puedo evitar darme cuenta de cómo las llamadas de Zoom podrían estar desencadenando nuevas inseguridades. ¿Siempre hemos tenido este aspecto? ¿Estamos utilizando filtros para mejorar nuestra apariencia?
- Patient Education
- Jan | 21 | 2021
With recommendations to stay at home this winter to help stop the spread of COVID-19, David Mischoulon, MD, PhD, offers insights on SAD and how to stay well at home this winter.
- Dec | 9 | 2020
Parenting is always a balancing act and raising a child with a chronic illness poses extra challenges. Watch this video to discover ways to prevent, recognize and manage emotional distress that can improve the health of the entire family.
- Dec | 4 | 2020
In this recent presentation, Kristina Skarbinski, MSN, FNP-BC, describes both common and uncommon symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). She then outlines management strategies including lifestyle modifications, types of medicine and surgical options.