Strong social support can protect older adults from cognitive and physical decline. The neural underpinnings of social support’s cognition boost, however, are not well understood. In a study published on February 28 in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Helena Blumen, Ph.D., and colleagues identified neural networks associated with social support. The researchers used a computational approach to identify neural networks in elderly study participants and linked those networks to the degree of participants’ social support as measured by the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey. Having broad social support was associated with neural networks involving the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, cingulate cortex, and thalamus— brain regions known to be involved in memory and executive function. These findings suggest that strengthening social support among elderly people may reduce cognitive decline and dementia. Dr. Blumen is assistant professor of medicine and in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein.
Posted on: Monday, March 25, 2019