We have different lifestyle advices to slow down our brain aging and minimize chances of getting a brain disease. A recent study added another important tool to our ‘brain anti-aging’ collection: find a good listener who can support you!
The researchers investigated an effect of various forms of social support on the relationship between cerebral volume and cognitive performance from 2.171 participants, aged 63 (on average). The researched forms of social support encounted listening, good advice, love and affection, sufficient contact with people they’re close with, and emotional support. The relative effect on the relationship between total cerebral brain volume on global cognition was measured using MRI scans and neuropsychological assessments.
The researchers found that the cognitive function of participants was better relative to their total cerebral volume with greater availability of only one specific form of social support, availability of a good listener. Simply having someone available who can listen and support you when you need it, enhanced the ability of the brain to work better than would be expected due to aging or disease-related changes in the brain. This ability of the brain is called cognitive resilience, which create a buffer to the effects of brain aging and a brain disease.
The study showed that people in their 40s and 50s with no social support or a good listener had a 4 years older brain age than those with a good listener. In other words, supportive social interactions helped postpone cognitive decline despite brain aging or any disease-related changes in the brain such as those in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
This is a great finding, isn’t it? Having someone available to listen to you gives you another good key to maintain long-term brain health and provides with the best quality of life you can have.
Curious? HERE is the source