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Elderly women with larger social networks are less likely to develop dementia

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QUESTION

Question:

Are social networks associated with reduced incidence of dementia in elderly women?

People:

2249 women aged >77 years without a diagnosis of dementia at baseline (see outcomes for how dementia status was determined).

Setting:

Kaiser Permanente Southern California health maintenance group, USA; 2001–2005.

Risk factors:

Participants’ social network size assessed using the Lubben Social Network Scale-6 (LSNS-6). The scale measured the size of the social network (people heard from or seen at least once a month), perceived support network (people who could be called on for help) and perceived confidant network (people who could be talked to about private matters). The scale provides a total score between 0 and 30; higher scores indicate a larger network. Frequency of contact with family and friends was also assessed (less than 1, 1–2, 3–6 times/week and once a day). Analyses were adjusted for potential confounding factors, such as baseline cognitive status, age, education, hormone use and the presence of selected health conditions.

Outcomes:

Presence of dementia, determined using a three …

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