Ensuring your wellness as a senior is about more than just maintaining physical health. Keeping your mind in good working condition is also essential; however, the two are closely tied together, and a poor physical state often leads to a poor mental state. A new study confirms this – researchers suggest that seniors who are exposed to some common infections may experience memory issues.
The research was conducted by scientists at Columbia University In New York and the University of Miami, who presented their findings at an American Stroke Association on Thursday, Feb. 13. The clinical examination involved 588 seniors who underwent brain function tests to determine their memory and thinking capacities. The study also looked at the participants' exposure to bacteria that cause common infections, including pneumonia, bronchitis, gastric ulcers and cytomegalovirus as well as herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2.
About half of the participants returned five years later for further mental capacity testing. Researchers found that those who had suffered from the aforementioned bacteria since the previous testing had diminished cognitive abilities, including memory loss and poorer language performance, than those who had not been exposed to these bacteria. While the research shows a link between mental wellness and infection, it does not confirm a causal relationship between the two, and further testing is needed to make a solid conclusion.