Social Activity and Brain Volume, White Matter Lesions and Cognitive Function Are low levels of Social Activity associated with brain abnormalities observed on MRI and with poor cognitive function?
Vegt, E. van der
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Contrary to the number of research reporting the effects of Social Activity on cognitive decline and dementia, there is not much known about the influence of Social Activity on the neuropathology. Therefore, the present study will explore the association between Social Activity and brain volume and WML, and will verify the association between Social Activity and cognitive function. The data of the SMART-study is used. Three questions about the frequency of social contact of the participants with neighbors, family and friends formed the factor Social Activity. WML and brain volume was measured and normalized for intracranial volume. Cognition is measured with the 15-word learning test. Linear regression analysis is used for the statistical analyses. The findings show that people with low levels of Social Activity with neighbors have larger brain volume (B=.642; 95% CI= .132 to 1.151 %; p=.014). People with low levels of Social Activity with neighbors (B=.256; 95% CI= .004 to .507 %; p=.046) and family (B=.270; 95% CI= .022 to .519 %; p=.033) have more WML. People who have low levels of Social Activity (B=.2.439; 95% CI= .418 to 4.460 %; p=.018) or moderate (B=.1.995; 95% CI= .488 to 3.501 %; p=.010) levels of Social Activity with friends have better Cognitive function. These results are compared to people with high levels of Social Activity. The mixed results indicate that social ties influence the relation between Social Activity and brain volume and cognition. It indicate an effect of the frequency of Social Activity on WML. Finally, the results indicate that low levels of Social Activity is associated with more WML and is therefore probably a risk factor.