Research suggests that social isolation is linked to an increased risk of dementia. So keeping connected to the people around us is another good way to give back to our brains.
In 2020, researchers analysed data from several studies and found that social isolation could be a factor in around 4% of dementia cases.
Scientists aren’t sure whether social isolation is a risk factors for dementia, or whether it’s a symptom of the condition. However, one thing is for certain: keeping connected is good for our brain health.
Keeping connected can also help us feel happier and healthier in general. This could be spending time with loved ones, having virtual catch-ups with friends further afield and making new connections by joining clubs or volunteering.
How do we know this?
Many studies have identified a link between loneliness, social isolation and a decline in memory and thinking skills. For example, researchers in the UK and China found in 2022 that people who were socially isolated had lower brain volume in the areas associated with memory and thinking. They were also 26% more likely to develop dementia.
We need more studies to understand the exact nature of the link between social isolation and dementia, but it’s clear that a link does exist. Keeping connected to those around you is an important and fulfilling way to show your brain some love.