Talking to Someone Saves 4 Years of Brain Aging

Talking to Someone Saves 4 Years of Brain Aging

              When it comes to preserving cognitive health, simply talking to someone may be the key. Would you say you’ve got a good program going to preserve brain health?  Taking vitamins, supplements, nootropics, engaging the mind, reducing inflammation through the diet?  Even with your efforts, remember: a solid support system is essential for overall well-being. It’s crucial to acknowledge the importance of a strong support network beyond individual efforts.

                Regular social interaction, such as talking to someone, could be a simple yet powerful strategy against brain aging. Researchers found that a solid support system with attentive listeners enhances brain resilience. This can potentially reduce brain age by four years.

Cognitive Resilience Through Strength

                Self-reported strength isn’t all. Measurable changes extend to cerebral volume, reflecting true cognitive resilience. Participants aged 40-50 years in the study had MRI scans and took cognitive function tests.  Lower cognitive test scores correlate with reduced cerebral volume, indicating diminished cognitive resilience during the aging process.

                The researchers identified that having a social support system—especially the availability of having someone to listen— could be seen in the cerebral brain volume.  They found that every incremental decrease in unit of brain volume that happened in people who didn’t have a good listener in their lives had brains that were aged 4 years older!

Listening Support: Enhancing Cognitive Resilience

                The most beneficial aspect of the support system was a person you could count on to call who would truly listen to you when needed.  There are many different ways that support systems can help, but the study focused on this particular aspect because it improved the cognitive resilience the most.  The psychosocial effects of not feeling isolated have many implications for total body health and also measurably changes the brain.  Reach out and build yourself a solid support system you can count on; because we will all have that time of need.

                Likewise, even if you feel like listening to someone isn’t helping them, or you can’t provide a way to help, (or maybe they just want to vent rather than get advice):   your support does make a difference.

Further Reading

Joel Salinas et al. Association of Social Support With Brain Volume and CognitionJAMA Netw Open, 2021 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.21122

Also read our blog on Can Archery Help Your Mental Health

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *