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The Effect of Social Interaction on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Lori Cuevas. Background on AD. AD is the most common irreversible dementia. AD first diagnosed in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer. . Background on AD (cont’d). Symptoms of AD include:

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background on ad
Background on AD
  • AD is the most common irreversible dementia.
  • AD first diagnosed in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer.
background on ad cont d
Background on AD (cont’d)
  • Symptoms of AD include:
    • Memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, personality changes, disorientation, and loss of language skills.
  • The known effects of AD on brain tissue:
    • Overall shrinkage of brain tissue.
    • Amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.
  • How does social interaction effect the onset and progression of AD?
    • Research findings suggest that Social interactions effect parts of the body (e.g., immune function).
    • Is there research indicating social interaction effects cognitive decline in older persons?
influence of social network on occurrence of dementia a community based longitudinal study

Influence of Social Network on Occurrence of Dementia: A Community-based Longitudinal Study

Fratiglioni, Wang, Ericson, Maytan, & Winbald, 2000

  • 1203 non-demented people living in the Kungsholmen district of Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 75 years or over as of October, 1987
  • Good cognition – defined by Mini-Mental State Examination Score (MMSE) above 23
  • Longitudinal based cohort study (1987-89)
  • Participants participated in interview at beginning of study to determine social network as a(n):
    • “poor social network”
    • “limited social network”
    • “Moderate social network”
    • “Extensive social network”
method cont d
Method (cont’d)
  • 3 years after baseline interview (1991-1993) physical and psychological examinations were conducted to determine cognitive decline.
    • 3 step diagnostic process for determining dementia
  • After 3 years there was a diagnosis of 176 incident dementia cases
    • 126 of AD type
    • 32 of vascular dementia type
findings cont d
Findings (cont’d.)
  • Overall, when all components combined, a poor or limited social network increased the risk of dementia by 60%.
follow up study
Follow-up study

Late-Life Engagement in Social and Leisure Activities Is Associated with a Decreased Risk of Dementia: A Longitudinal Study from the Kungsholmen Project

Wang, Karp, Winblad, & Fratiglioni, 2002

follow up study1
Follow-up Study
  • Data from 1987 project was used to determine whether engagement in different activities 6.4 years before dementia diagnosis was related to decreased incidence of AD.
  • Adjusted for age, sex, education, cognitive functioning, comorbidity, depressive symptoms, and physical functioning at first examination.
  • Number of individuals with dementia at the 6 year mark after first interview was 123.
  • Indication that the adjusted relative risks of dementia associated with participation in social activity was nearly the same as the effects of participation in mentally stimulating activities.
  • Social interaction plays a role as a predictive risk factor in the rate of incidence of AD among older individuals
  • Today more than 4.5 million American’s have AD. By the year 2050, it is estimated that the number could increase to 14 million.
potential drawback to these studies
Potential Drawback to These Studies
  • Correlational Designs.
  • Therefore, it can not be said conclusively that it is the social interaction and not the effects of cognitive stimulation that effects AD.
questions for future study
Questions for Future Study
  • Is it possible to determine conclusively that social interaction effects AD when separated from the effects of cognitive stimulation?
  • Once diagnosed with AD, do social interactions effect the rate of progression at the various stages of the disease? If so, how?
  • What is the effect of life long social engagement versus late life engagement only on AD?