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Social connectedness offers no protection against brain ageing
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå center for Functional Brain Imaging.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Brain atrophy has been associated with cognitive decline in ageing, whereas social relationships have been shown to guard cognition. This longitudinal study presents an investigation of whether higher levels of social engagement decrease the grey and white matter volume loss with age. Two hundred ninety two older participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging scanning about 4-years apart. The results of linear mixed model revealed no slowing in brain ageing in relation to higher social engagement. Changes in the white matter volume showed the very opposite as the higher social engagement correlated with more rapid volume loss. The finding is controversial in that it suggests that higher social engagement can accelerate the brain ageing in healthy populations, but it may also be that participants with low social involvement may not retain their cognitive health. Further investigations of emotional aspects of social contexts are recommended as a possible factor affecting brain changes in aging.

Abstract [sv]

Hjärnatrofi har förknippats med kognitiv nedgång vid åldrandet, medan sociala relationer har visat sig skydda kognitiva förmågor i hög ålder. Denna longitudinella studie undersökte huruvida högre nivåer av socialt engagemang minskar förlust av grå- och vitsubstansvolymer med ålder. Tvåhundranittiotvå äldre deltagare genomgick magnetisk resonansavbildningsskanning med ca 4 års mellanrum. Resultaten från en linear mixed model avslöjade ingen bromsning i hjärnans åldrande i relation till högre socialt engagemang. Förändringar i vitsubstansvolym visade motsatsen, nämligen att högre socialt engagemang korrelerade med snabbare volymförlust. Fyndet är kontroversiellt i det att det antyder att högre socialt engagemang kan påskynda hjärnans åldrande hos friska befolkningar, men det kan också vara så att deltagarna i gruppen med lågt socialt engagemang är en icke-representativ utvald grupp av individer till följd av studiens inklusionskriterium om att vara kognitivt intakt. Ytterligare undersökningar av emotionella aspekter av sociala sammanhang rekommenderas som en möjlig faktor som påverkar hjärnans förändringar i åldrandet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 21
Keywords [en]
ageing, grey matter, magnetic resonance imaging, social factors, white matter
Keywords [sv]
åldrande, grå hjärnsubstans, magnetisk resonansavbildning, sociala faktorer, vit hjärnsubstans
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-149843OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-149843DiVA, id: diva2:1228185
Presentation
2018-05-30, HC210, Umeå University 901 87, Umeå, 16:06 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-28 Created: 2018-06-27 Last updated: 2018-06-28Bibliographically approved

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