PHOENIX — A new Mayo Clinic study suggests that the care and support family members give to elderly widows following the death of their spouse may be a factor in delaying dementia.
The study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark last week was designed to evaluate the effects of widowhood in people with mild cognitive impairment - a precursor of dementia. The thinking had been that widowhood would accelerate the development of dementia in people with MCI but the study showed the opposite.
Mayo Clinic researchers used data on more than 3,500 people from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center database, which compiles information collected at various Alzheimer’s disease Centers in the U.S. The researchers found that of the 1,078 subjects who developed dementia, people who remained married developed dementia at a younger age than those who were widowed (83 years old versus 92 years).
MEDIA CONTACT: Jim McVeigh, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs,