Recent research reveals that having a pet is excellent for your brain, possibly even slowing cognitive deficits in older people.
Previous research from the University of Michigan linked having a pet for five years or more to slowed brain ageing in persons around the age of 65.
“Past research has indicated that the human-animal bond may have health benefits like decreasing blood pressure and stress,” said Dr. Tiffany Braley of the University of Michigan Medical Center. “Our results suggest pet ownership may also be protective against cognitive decline,” said Dr. Bradley, who authored the study.
Statistics from a previous study involving over 1300 older persons with a median age of 65 years and normal cognitive abilities at the start of the trial. More than 88 percent of the participants were white, 7% were black, 2% were Hispanic, and 3% were of another ethnicity or race, with 32 percent describing themselves as long-term pet owners, indicating they had owned a pet for five years or more. The researchers evaluated cognitive function based on tests given to study participants over the course of six years, which included number counting, subtraction problems, and word memory assessments. Participants received a cognitive score ranging from 0 to 27 based on how well they did on those tests each year.
The researchers went on to say that the benefits of having a pet were stronger among Black individuals, men, and seniors with a college education, according to the article. Dr. Braley’s previous research has shown that pet owners, particularly dog owners, outperform non-pet owners. That extra workout could benefit both your mind and your body.
“A companion animal can also increase physical activity, which may be beneficial to cognitive health,” Braley explained.
She suggested that more research be done to corroborate their findings.