Regular sex among over-50s found to help fight dementia, study says

senior couple kissing outdoors

Scientists found sharper cognitive function in over-50s who were still sexually active.


COVENTRY, England, Wednesday February 17, 2016 – A new British study suggests that having regular sex could help older people ward off dementia.

Scientists from Coventry University found sharper cognitive function in over-50s who were still active in the bedroom.

In the study, which was published in the journal Age And Ageing, more than 6,800 people aged between 50 and 89 were quizzed on their sex lives and then set mental tests.

The tests revealed that those who enjoyed intimacy were better able to recall lists and recognize patterns, both of which are signs of a healthy brain.

The participants were played a list of ten words and asked to recount them immediately afterwards and again after five-minutes.

They were also given a sequence of numbers with one missing and tasked with completing the pattern.

Elderly men who were sexually active scored significantly higher – by 23 percent on the word tests and 3 percent on the number puzzles – while women also scored higher by margins of 14 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Stronger performances were demonstrated even when factors such as age, wealth and physical activity were factored in.

The study stated that: “The findings have implications for the promotion of sexual counselling in healthcare settings, where maintaining a healthy sex life in older age could be instrumental in improving cognitive function and well-being.”

The Daily Mail reports that the study suggests the results could be due to the release during sex of hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin, “which are linked to feelings of reward, so promoting memory and learning.”

Psychosexual counsellor Pauline Brown 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 and healthy.

“Sex is a key part of what it means to be human, whether as a young adult or someone of advancing years.

“And it makes people feel good so it encourages them to be more positive about life and more likely to eat well and pursue other healthy activities like Pilates or line-dancing.”

Alzheimer’s Society research manager Dr Clare Walton said: “We know that older adults who keep their minds and bodies active have a reduced risk of dementia.

“This timely study suggests there might be a link between sexual activity and better memory performance.

“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.”

Dementia is approaching epidemic proportions worldwide.

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