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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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South Korean company selected for Kathmandu-Terai fast track DPR

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KATHMANDU — A South Korean Consultancy Company has been selected to prepare the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Kathmandu-Terai Fast-Track project — a national pride and strategic importance mega project.

The Nepal Army (NA) had earlier assigned an Indian company named IL and FS but it did not agree with the cost of the report prepared by the Indian company.

Hence, the South Korean company, Soosung, has been assigned to prepare the DPR for the 76-kilometer fast-track highway project.

The Project Chief and Major General Yogendra Bahadur Khand shared that construction agreement would be made between the South Korean company chosen to prepare DPR for the estimated Rs 111 billion-project and the NA by the end of September.

The preparation cost of DPR as demanded by the Indian company was Rs 510 million higher than what it has been agreed with the South Korean company – at Rs 100.15 million, informed Project Chief Khand.

The South Korean company is committed to prepare DPR within four months of the purchase agreement with the NA.

It has been 13 months since the NA was entrusted with the responsibility to manage the construction of the Fast-Track.

The NA has been carrying on the basic and preliminary works relating to the Fast-Track based on the feasibility study conducted by the Asian Development Bank in 2008.

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