How biology can protect - or harm - the cognitive health of older adults - Source

How biology can protect – or harm – the cognitive health of older adults – Source

Does your neighborhood help protect your cognitive health as you age?

A growing body of research led by scientists at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Michigan suggests that older adults’ access to civic and social organizations, cultural centers — such as museums and art galleries — and recreation centers may help protect against cognitive decline as a person ages. A theory they call cognition “.

In a recent study, “Cognition: an ecological theory of biology and cognitive agingPublished in the journal Social Science & Medicine, researchers found evidence that these neighborhood features can predict scores of cognitive function in older adults.

“The main objective of this project was to examine the potential relationship between the cognitive health of older adults and the environments of the neighborhoods in which they reside,” said study co-author. Michael EspositoAssistant Professor of Sociology in Arts and Sciences at Washoe.

The fact that we live in a country where people’s access to good health varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, and health is conditioned on where you live, is important to prove.

Michael Esposito

“The fact that we live in a country where people’s access to health varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, and that health is conditioned on where you live, is important to pretend,” he said.

The team also ran models to see if differences in cognitive function exist within neighborhoods by race, gender, and education (a proxy for socioeconomic status), but these early models did not find significant differences.

The researchers said that future research will focus more specifically on how neighborhoods and cognitive health differ by race, ethnicity, gender, education and wealth.

“This is really ground-breaking work. Cognition helps people think about their neighborhood in relation to their cognitive health,” said Philippa Clark, professor of epidemiology at the UM School of Public Health and research professor at the ISR’s Survey Research Center.

“Most research on cognitive function and dementia focuses on mitigating individual risk factors, but cognition redirects attention to those features in the surrounding environment that may go a long way in mitigating cognitive decline with ageing.”

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