It is well known that dogs, cats, guinea pigs and the like have a positive influence on our well-being when we live with them. Now a new study shows pets also actively contribute to the ongoing health of our brains
Good news for all you lucky pet owners: a joint study from the University of Florida, the University of Michigan and Virginia Commonwealth University in the U.S. concludes that animal family members not only enhance our well-being, but also help prevent cognitive decline. The researchers recently presented the results of the preliminary study at the 74. Congress of the American Academy of Neurology pre.
Over six years, the U.S. research team examined data from 1360 adults aged 50 and older, 53 percent of whom owned at least one pet. The test subjects completed various tests during the study period to check their cognitive abilities.
Pets reduce stress and boost memory
The results of the tests show: Having a longtime animal companion by your side can delay memory loss and other types of cognitive decline. According to the researchers, pet ownership had a particularly positive effect on the women's and men's verbal memory, such as remembering lists of words.
The exact reasons why long-time pet owners in particular showed significantly better cognitive performance than non-pet owners was not investigated. Still, the researchers have one possible explanation: pets reduce stress – and previous studies have already demonstrated the negative effects of stress on brain health, particularly chronic stress. With no animal do we share a longer. Closer history than with dogs. Over thousands of years, the four-legged creatures have learned to communicate with humans. They are able to interpret our words, voice pitch, gestures and even facial expressions. And understood how they make us their helpers
"Our findings show that pets can improve cognition in older adults, and we believe this is also related to stress reduction," Jennifer Applebaum, lead author of the study and a doctoral student at the National Institute of Health at the University of Florida, is quoted as saying in a news release from the university's.
Dog, cat, budgie: type of pet is secondary
The type of pet, by the way, was by all accounts secondary to the positive effect on the human brain: Even though dogs and cats were in the majority, study participants who had hamsters, birds or reptiles in their care, for example, also showed better test results than subjects without pets.
Another factor that could have influenced the test results, according to the researchers, is the social class of the people studied. Pet owners would tend to have higher socioeconomic status than people without pets. In addition, people with higher incomes and greater education are more likely to go to the doctor and take care of their health, the researchers said.
Striking brain activity Dogs can distinguish between languages
A research team at Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary has demonstrated for the first time that dogs are able to distinguish between different languages. This was shown in the activity patterns of the brains
Thus, should all older adults now acquire a pet to remain mentally fit? The scientists would not go that far with a recommendation. "We recommend not to keep pets as a therapeutic measure", says Jennifer Applebaum.