Read the following text and match each of the numbered items in the left column to its corresponding information in the right column. There are two extra choices in the right column. Mark your answers on the ANSWER SHEET. (10 points)
Being socially active in your 50s and 60s may help lower the risk of developing dementia (a serious mental disorder) in later life, a study has found.
Researchers led by Dr. Andrew Sommerlad of the University of London studied data that tracked more than 10,000 people from 1985 to 2013. The participants answered a questionnaire every five years about the frequency of their social contact with friends and relatives. They were also subject to cognitive testing, and electronic health records were searched for dementia diagnoses.
The results published in the journal Plos Medicine showed that seeing friends almost daily at aged 60 was associated with a 12% lower likelihood of developing dementia in later life, compared with those who saw only one or two friends every few months. Seeing relatives, on the other hand, did not show the same beneficial association.
Another researcher Elijah Lowenstein involved in this study said that practising using the brain for memory and language during social contact can build so-called cognitive reserve.
Tara Spires-Jones, a professor of neurodegeneration at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the work, explained: “Learning new things builds connections between brain cells, and so does social contact. The biology underlying this study is that the people who are socially active keep their brains better connected. If you have a better-connected network in your brain, it can resist pathology for longer.”
Clive Ballard, a professor of age-related disorders at the University of Exeter, who was also not involved in the work, said: “Social isolation is a risk factor. The strength of this work is the large population studied, and that the assessment of social contact was done so long before the cognitive assessment bit. It makes the direction of causality much stronger.”
The authors note that the data does not include detail on the quality of social contact, and that dementia cases may have been missed if participants did not present to their general practitioner (GP).
Other sociologists pointed out that there may also be overlapping factors at play: “It is known that depression is a significant risk factor, and our work has shown that hearing loss is also a significant risk factor. Both of those might lead to social isolation. It’s likely to be a cluster of things which are not totally independent.” said one of the authors.
Similar benefits were seen for those who saw friends when they were aged 50 and 70, although the association was not strong enough to be statistically significant.
“This is due to the statistical uncertainty involved in the study,” said Dr. Andrew Sommerlad. “There’s no conceivable reason why it’d be important at 60 and not other age points.” He concluded, “We need to be conscious that we’re in a society in which social isolation and loneliness are becoming more common. We hope that at a community level and policy level work will be done to make it easier for older people to stay connected.”
Men’s Sheds was founded in Australia in the late 1990s to provide social and community opportunities – primarily for men over 50. Sociologist Anna Ploszajski pointed out that “It’s very difficult for older people to make new friends. This is a place for that opportunity to keep on happening. It’s almost like a place of hope.”
|[A] pointed out that there may also be overlapping factors at play.|
|41. Dr. Andrew Sommerlad||[B] held that practising of the brain during social contact can build so-called cognitive reserve.|
|42. Elijah Lowenstein||[C] said social isolation is a risk factor for dementia.|
|43. Tara Spires-Jones||[D] viewed Men’s Sheds as a place of hope for elderly people.|
|44. Clive Ballard||[E] hoped that something should be done to make it easier for older people to stay connected at a community level and policy level.|
|45. Anna Ploszajski||[F] said that similar benefits were seen for those who saw friends when they were aged 50 and 70.|
|[G] believed that social contact builds connections between brain cells.|