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Marriage lowers dementia risk in old age

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — A new research review has suggested that getting marriage or people who get and stay married significantly lowers the risk of mental decline in old age.

Lifelong singletons and widowers are at higher risk of developing the disease, the findings published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry conclude.

In a study covering more than 800,000 people from Europe, North and South America, and Asia, they found that walking through life alone increased the chances of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by 40 percent. Being widowed after extended co-habitation also took a toll, boosting the odds of mental slippage by about 20 percent.

“We were surprised by the strength of our findings,” said review lead author Dr Andrew Sommerlad, a psychiatrist and research fellow at University College London.

They base their findings on data from 15 relevant studies published up to the end of 2016. These looked at the potential role of marital status on dementia risk.

Married people accounted for between 28 and 80 per cent of people in the included studies; the widowed made up between around 8 and 48 per cent; the divorced between 0 and 16 per cent; and lifelong singletons between 0 and 32.5 per cent.

“There were fairly well established health benefits of marriage, so we did expect there to be a higher risk in unmarried people,” said lead author Sommerlad.

Couples living together without having formally tied the knot were still considered as being married for the purposes of the study, Sommerlad added.

Pooled analysis of the data showed that compared with those who were married, lifelong singletons were 42 per cent more likely to develop dementia, after taking account of age and sex.

Interestingly, elderly people who had divorced were no more likely to suffer from dementia that married couples.

Part of this risk might be explained by poorer physical health among lifelong single people, suggest the researchers.

However, the most recent studies, which included people born after 1927, indicated a risk of 24 per cent, which suggests that this may have lessened over time, although it is not clear why, say the researchers.

Across the different categories, there was also no detectable difference between men and women in the rates of mental decline.

Previous research has shown that people who live alone die younger, succumb more quickly when they get cancer, and are generally in poorer health.

But the “dementia gap” between married folk and singletons is even wider than the gap in mortality, suggesting that living with someone has direct benefits for the brain too.

With Agency Inputs

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Drinking water shortage hits life at Yasok in Panchthar

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PACHTHAR — A shortage of drinking water at Yasok Bazar, the center of Kummayak Rural Municipality, has thrown the normal life of the locals out of gear.

The problem arose after the local market management committee removed water pipes installed in the bazaar area. Per household here was getting 50 liters of drinking water once in two days before this.

Water scarcity here is not a new occurrence at Yasok which normally remains dry, but the complete disruption in the supply of taps water has paralysed the life, according to local hotelier Keshab Thapa.

There is no natural or artificial water source nearby the area and locals are forced to dependent on the supply by the local government through tractors in a very limited quantity.

The rural municipality has started fetching water from the local Chhorunga stream and distributing it to the locals. Tractors are used to transport stream water to the area.

Earlier, the 650 households at Yasok were using drinking water supplied by the Yasok Deurali Drinking Water Project. Regular supply (once in two days) was too less to meet demand. There is a demand for some 250,000 liters of water at Yasok per day.

According to Yasok Market Management Consumers Committee secretary Mahendra Bahadur Khadka, water pipes were removed (without any alternative arrangements) in course of market management efforts and it will take some more days to restore them and water scarcity is to go for more few days

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