A Healthy Sex Life Staves Off Dementia

A recent study released by Coventry University, and published in the Journal, Age and Ageing, has indicated that maintaining a healthy sex life as you age could stave off dementia.

Researchers have found that those aged 50 and over, who participated in an active sex life, had sharper cognitive function. They scored better on their ability to recall lists and recognise patters, both of which are good indicators of healthy brain function.

The scientists involved in the study suggest that sex maintains brain function as we experience a release of hormones, for example dopamine, which are associated with reward and promote the memory and learning centres of the brain.

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Pauline Brown, a psychosexual counsellor, said: “Any part of the body needs to be exercised to keep in good shape and because sex triggers so many changes in the brain it will inevitably help keep it agile and capable.

“There can be physical barriers caused by ageing, but these results show just how important it is for couples to keep this part of their relationship strong.”

How The Sex Study Was Conducted:

The researchers surveyed over 6 800 people aged 50 to 89, presenting them with questionnaires regarding their sex lives. The participants were set two mental tests. In the first test they were asked to listen to a list of 10 words, they were then asked to recount them, both immediately afterwards and five minutes later. In the second test the participants were given a sequence of numbers with one missing and asked to complete the pattern.

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Factors such as age, wealth and levels of physical activity were taken into account. The results show that the men who were sexually active, scored 23% higher on the word tests and 3% higher on the number puzzles, than those who were not. While the women who were sexually active scored 14% higher on the word tests and 2% higher on the number puzzles.

“We know that older adults who keep their minds and bodies active have a reduced risk of dementia. As more and more people are living longer, finding ways to maintain good cognitive function into our later years is an important area of ongoing research,” says Dr Clare Walton, of the Alzheimer’s Society.