Hear that, guys?
It actually makes a lot of sense: if you marry someone smart — someone who keeps you on your toes and your mind stimulated — you can ward off the symptoms of mental illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
At the Oxford Literary Festival, Lawrence Whalley, professor of mental health at the University of Aberdeen, and author of the book Understanding Brain Aging and Dementia, discussed his theory that men who marry intelligent women are less likely to develop dementia later in life.
Dementia isn’t a specific disease — it’s a general term used to describe a variety of symptoms connected to a decline in memory of other thinking skills severe enough to reduce an individual’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases.
There was an estimated 46.8 million people worldwide living with dementia in 2015. And this number will probably almost double every 20 years, reaching 74.7 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050.
In the past, research has suggested that activities such as crossword puzzles, reading, and visiting museums can help reduce the risk of developing the condition. However in his talk “Dementia: How can we protect ourselves?”, Whalley said, “The thing a boy is never told he needs to do if he wants to live a longer life — but what he should do — is marry an intelligent women. There is no better buffer than intelligence.”
Whalley contends that a spouse who challenges and fascinates their partner could help to slow down the aging process. Whalley also said that losing a family member at an early age could have an effect on an individual’s mental health decades later.
“Studies have shown that the death of a mother before the age of five is a very important risk factor for dementia in later life,” he said.
While we have no control over our early lives, we can choose to marry a smart person who keeps us sharp. So choose someone with a big heart and a big brain.
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Men Who Marry Intelligent Women Avoid Dementia, Says Science.