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Pet ownership may slow cognitive decline in older adults

According to the Global Times, the British “Times” reported on November 22 that the latest research shows that keeping pets can slow down the decline of human cognitive abilities in later life.
American researchers followed 637 subjects aged 50 to 100 for an average of 13 years and gave them regular cognitive tests. The results showed that while all people experienced some degree of mental decline, those who owned pets experienced slower cognitive decline than those who did not own pets. Among pet owners, those who frequently took their dogs for walks experienced slower cognitive decline than those who did not.
Researchers from the University of Maryland said: “We have obtained important longitudinal evidence that pet ownership and dog walking help maintain cognitive performance in older adults and that senior communities and senior care services need to support pet ownership and dog walking.”
Researchers speculate that pets provide owners with a form of social support that helps combat “social isolation and loneliness”—both conditions associated with dramatic declines in cognitive function. Pet owners can also increase their physical activity by playing and walking with their pets, which can also help maintain cognitive abilities in later life.

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