Having a Long-Term Partner Halves the Risk of Alzheimers

Article excerpt

Byline: Jenny Hope

BEING married halves your risk of developing Alzheimers disease, say researchers.

A study shows the importance of close companionship in mid-life, with a 50 per cent lower rate of dementia affecting those who have a partner.

The 21-year study highlights a higher risk of developing memory and cognitive problems for all those who live alone, whether single, divorced or widowed.

Although previous U.S. research has claimed that lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, the Swedish study presented yesterday at the International Conference on Alzheimers Disease in Chicago is the first to look specifically at whether being married cuts the risk.

In the latest study, researchers led by Dr Krister Hakansson at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm investigated records on 1,449 people living in Finland in mid-life and again in 1998.

Altogether 139 had some form of dementia. This remained the case even after adjustments were made for factors linked to a higher risk of Alzheimers, including education, obesity, blood pressure, occupation, physical activity, smoking habits, depression, genes, age and gender. …