“Now I will love my cow twice as much” (Cat Matroskin).
For owners of dogs, cats, guinea pigs and other pets, the answer to the question “How do pets affect the owner’s health?” taken a long time ago.
Now, the positive impact on our well-being is revealed by the results of a new study, which shows that pets are very active in contributing to the ongoing health of our brains.
What is the essence of the study?
A joint study by the University of Florida, the University of Michigan and the Commonwealth University of Virginia in the United States concluded that pets not only improve our well-being but also help improve cognitive function.
The researchers recently presented the results of a preliminary study at the 74th Congress of the American Academy of Neurology.
Over the course of six years, an American research team studied data from 1,360 adults aged 50 and over, 53 percent of whom had at least one pet.
During the study period, subjects perform various tests to test their cognitive abilities.
Do pets reduce stress and improve memory?
Test results show that having a pet for a long time can delay memory loss and other types of cognitive decline.
According to researchers, pet ownership had a particularly positive effect on the verbal memory of women and men.
The exact causes unknown?
The exact reasons why pet owners displayed much better cognitive skills over time than owners who do not have pets have not been investigated.
However, researchers have a possible explanation. The reason is that pets reduce stress levels, thus reducing the negative effects of stress on brain health, especially chronic ones.
“Our results show that pets can improve cognitive performance in older people, and we think this is also associated with reduced stress,” said Jennifer Applebaum, lead author of the study and a graduate student at the University’s National Institutes of Health. Florida.
The type of pet does not affect the result
It turned out that the type of pet is of secondary importance for a positive effect on the human brain.
Dogs and cats were in the majority, but study participants who had for example hamsters, birds or reptiles to care for also showed excellent results.
Another factor that researchers say may have influenced the test results is the social class of the testers.
Pet owners tend to have a higher socio-economic status than people without pets. “In addition, people with higher incomes and good education are more likely to go to the doctor and monitor their health,” the researchers explained.
Start or not?
So should all seniors have a pet to stay mentally fit? Scientists would not go that far with one recommendation.
“We do not recommend keeping pets as a therapeutic measure,” said Jennifer Applebaum. “However, we recommend that people who keep pets support policy measures so that others have the opportunity to have pets.”
Possible ideas for the future could be, for example, a tax exemption for pets or cheaper veterinary care for lower-income pet owners.
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