Understanding social determinants of cognitive decline

  • Moderate-to-good social health, calculated as a composite score that quantifies leisure activities and social networks, offered protection against cognitive decline (P=0.018). Likewise, a moderate-to-large total brain volume, which acted as a proxy for brain reserve, was also protective against cognitive decline (P<0.001).
  • The authors concluded that social health and brain reserve both affect cognitive reserve, and this effect is likely linked. Social health and brain reserve appear to have a lifelong, interlinked effect which unfolds throughout life, affecting old-age cognitive outcomes.
  • Our understanding surrounding the clinical significance of modifiable health factors such as social health is increasing. Such factors may be targeted by clinical interventions with significant effects on future cognitive health.