Men: Marry a smart woman to ward off dementia
If a man wants to live a long life, he should shack up with an intelligent woman, scientists have concluded.
During a talk on Thursday (07Apr16) called Dementia: How Can We Protect Ourselves? experts explained that a smart partner could prevent the disorder that affects mental processes.
Researchers studied the health of identical twins and found that a person's environment plays a big part in whether they develop the dementia. Those who showed physical signs of it after a brain scan, but had no symptoms, were more likely to be "highly intelligent" and in high-powered jobs earning a lot of money, the experts noted.
"The thing a boy is never told he needs to do if he wants to live a longer life – but what he should do – is marry an intelligent woman," the University of Aberdeen's Professor Lawrence Whalley said, adding, "There is no better buffer than intelligence."
It's thought this is down to intellectual stimulation keeping the brain active, therefore making it harder for dementia to be settle in. While it's previously been noted that activities like crosswords and reading help stave off suffering, Professor Whalley thinks a partner who challenges and intrigues could also do the job.
But there are things that can have a negative impact, such as the death of a family member when you're an only child. It's thought this could raise the risk of developing dementia 80 years down the line, but it can be prevented, as Professor Whalley told the audience: "Studies have shown that the death of a mother before the age of five is a very important risk factor for dementia in later life. But positive parenting as a child, a longer time in education and a good childhood environment all have a huge buffering effect against dementia 70 or 80 years later.
"Environmental factors in your childhood, such as your father’s job status, have an effect, as does your mother’s diet during pregnancy. Your childhood IQ, your job income, your educational attainments all have an effect in later life."
He also noted that swapping jobs between the age of 25 and 35 is an effective way to boost your brain, while fellow expert Professor Margaret Rayman, of the University of Surrey, suggested vitamin B13 for the over-50s to keep mental health intact.