Climbing the social ladder can reduce your risk of dementia by 40%, research shows

Being a social climber not only gets people invited to the best parties, it also does wonders for their health.

Researchers in Japan found that people who climbed the social ladder were up to 40 percent less likely to develop dementia.

People born into homes with low income and little social support, who acquired more wealth and social status over their lifetime, saw the largest protective effect.

Conversely, people stuck on a low rung of the socio-economic ladder, those who moved from a higher position to a lower one, and those stuck somewhere in the middle were all more likely to develop dementia than the climbers.

Currently, approximately 55 million people live with dementia. Scientists think a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors likely contribute to your chances of developing the disease.

Social support reduces your risk of developing dementia.  This study was one of the first to show whether changing your social status can affect your risk of dementia.

Social support reduces your risk of developing dementia. This study was one of the first to show whether changing your social status can affect your risk of dementia.

“This report marks, to our knowledge, the first documentation of the benefits of upward SES patterns over the life course for the prevention of dementia,” the study authors wrote in the article, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.

The researchers suggest that social climbing could make the brain more resistant to stress, which is thought to be a major risk factor for dementia.

The authors refer to research by Rutgers University which showed that people who endure stressful life experiences have better memories.

This may be because the stressful situation requires a person to learn more, which trains their brain, making it stronger and better able to withstand the changes that occur as we age.

Lead author Hiroyasu Iso, an epidemiologist and director of the Institute for Global Health Policy Research (iGHP), said scientists have long known that the more social support a person has, the less likely they are to develop dementia.

For example, a French study found that people who were lonely in old age were lonely 30 percent more likely develop dementia than people with a rich social life.

But very few studies have examined whether changing your social status can protect you from those risks, Dr. Iso wrote.

Dr. Iso’s research used data from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES), which measured the living conditions of approximately 200,000 people aged 65 or older in Japan from 2010-2016 to determine what factors helped them live healthier and longer lives.

They divided people into different categories based on their average income, education level and self-reported social life.

The lowest earners averaged $7,217 per year or less, the highest earned $38,690.

Those lower on the ladder were often underweight, more likely to live alone, were more likely to have a mental illness and were less likely to have a higher diploma.

The lowest level researcher also reported feeling like they had less social support at home, fewer friends nearby, and were more likely to live in a rural area.

The highest socio-economic groups had people who were more educated, exercised more often, had more social contacts and lived in more urban areas. They also reported feeling like they had social support at home and good friends nearby.

Social climbers were therefore those who were born into low-income environments and received little education, but built themselves up in a wealthier household.

According to the CDC and NHS, approximately 5.8 million people in the US and 944,000 people in Britain suffer from dementia.

The degenerative condition will affect someone in almost everyone’s life, yet we actually understand very little about what causes the debilitating disease.

Lifestyle factors – such as whether you grew up rich or poor – appear to play a role.

The new findings build on research published by Researchers from the University of College London earlier this year.

The UCL researchers found that people who have moved up the social ladder are 50 percent less likely to develop dementia than someone who has moved down.

However, scientists have not always reached a similar conclusion, wrote corresponding author, epidemiologist and director of the iGHP, Hiroyasu Iso.

For example, a 12 years of study in Sacramento of 1,789 older American participants from Mexico found that people who started from an advantageous social position but changed over time were no more at risk for dementia than any other group.