Greater Social Engagement and Greater Gray Matter Microstructural Integrity in Brain Regions Relevant to Dementia
Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
First page number:
Last page number:
Objective: Social engagement (SE) may protect against cognitive decline in older adults. We estimate associations of SE with gray matter (GM) microstructure in regions of interest (ROI) relevant to social cognition, among community-dwelling older adults. Method: Cross-sectional analysis of 293 Health ABC study participants who underwent 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion tensor and free from cognitive impairment was conducted. Linear regression models tested associations between SE index (marital status, not living alone, social activities, work, and volunteering) and mean diffusivity (MD) of GM ROIs, adjusted for age, race, gender, and education. Hearing and activities of daily living (ADL) difficulties were tested as confounders. Effect modification by gender was tested with interaction terms and stratification by gender. Results: Higher SE was significantly related to lower MD (greater GM microstructural integrity) (shown as standardized estimate [p-value]) in left middle frontal gyrus-orbital part: -.168 (.005), left caudate nucleus: -.141 (.02), left temporal pole-middle temporal gyrus: -.136 (.03), right middle frontal gyrus: -.160 (.006), right superior frontal gyrus-orbital part: -.187 (.002), and right middle frontal gyrus-orbital part: -.124 (.04), when adjusted for demographic attributes. Associations were robust to adjustments for hearing or ADL difficulty. There was significant effect modification by gender for some ROIs, with associations only for females. Discussion: SE is related to greater microstructural integrity of specific GM regions relevant to social cognition, that have described roles in dementia. SE may therefore be a useful preventive mechanism against loss of GM integrity in older adults.
Cognition; Dementia; Gray matter; MRI; Social engagement
Cognitive Neuroscience | Gerontology
Greater Social Engagement and Greater Gray Matter Microstructural Integrity in Brain Regions Relevant to Dementia.
Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 76(6),