Here’s a tip for my older readers: don’t skip that book club meeting this week. And be sure you visit your kids and grand kids. Give your friend a call and have a nice long chat. Meet friends for lunch. It turns out that all of these are amazing ways to keep fit – mentally.

A new study reveals that maintaining social ties with family and friends can go a long way toward keeping your memory sharp as you get older and can significantly slow the deterioration of memory in the elderly.

The study examined the impact of social integration on memory changes in Americans aged 50 or older over the course of six years. Turns out that the socialites had memories that declined at half the rate of those who had less social interactivity.

According to the study’s author, the results “suggest that social integration may be an important component of efforts to protect older Americans from memory decline.” Makes sense to me. In fact, I believe the same is true at nearly any age. An active mind is very often a nimble mind – and keeping up a social calendar that involves a wide variety of interaction lets the brain fire off in many directions, keeping it working. Less interactivity, more atrophy of the brain. This is a simplistic view, but so often the human body functions in this way.

Trying to keep my blood pressure in check in spite of Big Pharma,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.