Socialising with friends and family can help older women keep their brains sharp and may even ward off dementia, it has emerged.
Research conducted at the Southern California Permanente Medical Group suggests that people's social network can have an effect on their likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease.
During the study, lead researcher Valerie Crooks interviewed dementia-free individuals and then conducted follow-up chats one and four years later.
The team then ranked each woman's social network based on how many friends and family members they have regular contact with and how many people they feel they can confide in.
Of the 456 participants who were deemed to have a low score, 80 per cent went on to develop some form of dementia, compared with ten per cent of those considered to have a high score.
Commenting on the study, Ms Crooks said: "Our findings indicate that it's important to think about ways to try to reduce the amount of isolation people have even those with families."
She added that it is important to create social groups for individuals who are isolated due to lack of family.
A study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health asserted that an active social life can delay the onset of memory loss.