Loneliness 'increases dementia'

11 December 2012

People who suffer from loneliness are at an increased risk of developing dementia, according to new research.

The Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (Amstel) found that there was a discernable link between being alone and developing the syndrome that is associated with the decline of the brain.

According to researchers involved in the project, people who suffer from loneliness have a 64 per cent higher risk of developing one of the many types of dementia (Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia for example).

"Individuals with feelings of loneliness remained 1.64 times more likely to develop clinical dementia than persons who did not feel lonely," the report, which appears the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, explained.

"In contrast, objective aspects of social isolation no longer showed such an association."

The NHS states that dementia arises as a result of changes to the structure of the brain, as well as "progressive damage to the brain cells".

It affects people's memory, thinking speed, mental agility, language, understanding and judgement.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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