Pets May Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Elderly People
I love to write about the health benefits that people derive from their pets. Therefore, even though this topic may be a bit of a stretch, I'm making a prediction. Here it is: future studies will show that pets help to prevent memory loss and dementia in elderly people.
This prediction is based on two papers that appear in the July, 2008 American Journal of Public Health. The papers assess the effects of social integration and social networks on memory function, cognitive function, and dementia in humans.
Here is a quote from the first article.
Conclusions. Our study provides evidence that social integration delays memory loss among elderly Americans. (Am J Public Health. 2008;98: 1215-1220)
And here are the conclusions of the second article.
Our findings suggest that larger social networks have a protective influence on cognitive function among elderly women. (Am J Public Health. 2008;98: 1221-1227.)
These studies show that an active social life and a robust social network help to prevent mental confusion and memory loss.
I confess that pets are not mentioned in the studies. But I doubt that anyone on Dogster or Catster would deny that pets are part of their social network. After all, Dogster and Catster are social networking sites based on pets.
So, I have made my prediction. I will be keeping an eye on the scientific journals to see if I am proven right.