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Evidence suggests social support may buffer brain pathology. However, neither its association with hippocampal volume, a marker of Alzheimer's disease risk, nor the role of race in this association has been fully investigated. Multiple regression analyses examined relations of total social support to magnetic resonance imaging-assessed gray matter (GM) hippocampal volumes in the total sample (n = 165; mean age = 68.48 year), and in race-stratified models of African American and White older adults, adjusting for select covariates. Results showed greater social support was associated with greater GM hippocampal volumes among African American older adults only (p < .01). Our findings suggest greater total social support may play a role in supporting the hippocampus, particularly among African American older adults, who had lower hippocampal volumes than their White counterparts. Further research is needed to test these questions longitudinally and examine which aspects of social support may promote hippocampal integrity, specifically.


Desirée C Bygrave, Constance S Gerassimakis, Denée T Mwendwa, Guray Erus, Christos Davatzikos, Regina S Wright. The Role of Race in Relations of Social Support to Hippocampal Volumes Among Older Adults. Research on aging. 2022 Feb;44(2):205-214

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PMID: 33977830

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