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Can Caring for a Pet Protect the Aging Brain?

Megan Brooks February 23, 2022 Years spent caring for a dog or cat may help mitigate cognitive decline among older adults, new research suggests. In a large study of Medicare beneficiaries, pet owners had slower cognitive decline over 6 years than their peers who did not care for a pet. “Previous research has studied the impact of pets on overall health, mood, and quality of life; but to our knowledge, our study is the first to consider the effect of duration of pet ownership on cognitive health in older adults age 65 and older,” lead author Jennifer W. Applebaum, sociology PhD candidate and NIH predoctoral fellow at University of Florida, Gainesville, told Medscape Medical News.
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