Health & Wellness

Pets May Protect Brain Function

By Wendy Haaf


Sharing your home with a furry friend may offset the increased risk for dementia that researchers have associated with living alone. That’s the take-away from a UK study in which research- ers analyzed data on 7,945 people 50 or older (average age 66) who were enrolled in a study on aging between June 2010 and July 2019. Participants—35% of whom were pet owners and 27% of whom lived alone—completed cognitive tests five times over eight years.

Among those living alone, having a pet was linked with slower rates of decline in verbal thinking, verbal memory, and verbal fluency. In fact, rates of decline were the same among solo-dwelling participants with pets and those living with other people. The study’s authors say that a pet may help fight loneliness, a risk factor for cognitive decline.

Source: JAMA Network Open