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Is there a link between your S.O. status and your dementia risk?


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Photo: Stocksy/Ania Boniecka

There are reportedly around 47 million cases of dementia worldwide—and according to new research, your relationship status could play a role in your risk of being diagnosed with the degenerative disease later in life.

For the study, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, researchers found that people who spend their lives single had a 42 percent increased risk of developing dementia compared to those who were married. But saying “I do” isn’t an instant protector; rather, the distinction is likely related to how you live.

“Our research suggests that the possible protective effect is linked to various lifestyle factors known to accompany marriage, such as a generally healthier lifestyle and having more social stimulation as a result of living with a spouse or partner.” — Psychiatrist Andrew Sommerlad, PhD

“We don’t think that it’s marriage itself or wearing a wedding ring which reduces people’s risk of dementia,” lead study author Andrew Sommerlad, PhD, research fellow and psychiatrist at University College London in England, told CNN. “Instead, our research suggests that the possible protective effect is linked to various lifestyle factors known to accompany marriage, such as a generally healthier lifestyle and having more social stimulation as a result of living with a spouse or partner.”

Obviously not everyone wants to put a ring on it, and staying single doesn’t mean you’re going to wind up with dementia. As long as you take care of yourself and spend plenty of time socializing, you’re setting yourself up for life of mentally healthy longevity.

Here’s how to be ridiculously happy when you’re single. And if you do want to find love, this is the best city to look for it.