New Research Suggests That Improving Your Socioeconomic Status From Childhood To Adulthood May Help Delay The Onset Of Dementia

elnariz - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Everyone loves a good redemption story. That’s why Drake’s hit song, “Started From The Bottom,” climbed the charts after being released in 2013.

But, according to new research, there may be tangible, physical benefits to achieving better financial stability as an adult after your parents grew up poor. In fact, a study published in JAMA Network Open indicates that this upward socioeconomic shift can significantly benefit brain health in your later years.

For the study, researchers examined data from nearly 10,000 Japanese seniors over the age of 65. The team pinpointed six distinct socioeconomic status (SES) patterns throughout each participant’s life, considering factors such as childhood economic conditions, education level, career, and later-life income.

These six SES patterns included upward mobility (starting low but ending high), stable-high, upper-middle (consistently above average), lower-middle (consistently average), downward mobility (started high but ended low), and stable-low.

It was found that seniors in the upward mobility group actually had the lowest likelihood of developing dementia. At the age of 65, these individuals could even expect almost two additional years – or 1.8 years – without dementia compared to individuals whose SES were consistently average.

On the flip side, those who experienced downward mobility had the greatest reduction in dementia-free years. These individuals had approximately 1.4 fewer years without dementia after the age of 75 in comparison to the average group.

This suggests that enhancing your socioeconomic status from childhood to adulthood seems to create robust brain reserves that delay the onset of dementia. Meanwhile, declining from a higher to a lower socioeconomic class can have an adverse effect.

“Our finding that upward social mobility throughout a person’s life correlates with a prolonged period of dementia-free aging means that improving socioeconomic conditions could be a key to dementia prevention and healthier longevity,” explained Ryoto Sakaniwa, the study’s lead author.

As for what might explain these cognitive effects, the researchers discovered that exercise, diet, smoking, and other habits significantly influenced the cognitive outcomes for the upwardly mobile and stable-low groups. But, for those experiencing downward mobility, only social factors such as loneliness and lack of community ties moderated the rise in dementia risk.

elnariz – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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