By On February 12th, 2007

Loneliness connected to Alzheimers

A recent study published by researchers at Rush Alzheimer Disease Center in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry found a connection between loneliness and dementia. According to the study, people who have less interaction with others late in life tend to be more susceptible to the type of dementia that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The study focused on 823 older adults over a period of four years. The participants took questionnaires, which assessed their thinking processes, memory and degree of loneliness, among other things. The Following is an excerpt of an article from Medical News Today that reviews the study:

Lonely individuals may be twice as likely to develop the type of dementia linked to Alzheimer’s disease in late life as those who are not lonely, according to a study by researchers at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. The study is published in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Previous studies have shown that social isolation, or having few interactions with others, is associated with an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. However, little was know about the emotional isolation, which refers to feeling alone rather than being alone.

Robert S. Wilson, PhD, and his colleagues, analyzed the association between loneliness and Alzheimer’s disease in 823 older adults over a four year period. Participants underwent evaluations that included questionnaires to assess loneliness, classifications of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and testing of their thinking, learning and memory abilities. Loneliness was measured on a scale of one to five, with higher scores indicating more loneliness. The data was collected between November 2000 and May 2006.

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