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Most pet owners know how much joy a furry friend can bring. Pets are by our side through ups and downs, and always greet us with unconditional love.

It’s no surprise that studies have come out that show what pet owners have suspected for a while: Pet ownership may have health benefits!

Photo: Max Pixel

In fact, a new paper shared with the American Academy of Neurology showed that pet ownership may help protect against memory loss.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Medical Center studied 1,300 people and found that those with long-term pets had lower stress levels, blood pressure, and possibly sharper memories.

Photo: flickr/ironypoisoning

The participants, who were aged 65-years-old on average, were asked to take some memory tests and they compared the results while taking different factors into account, including which participants had pets.

According to Science Daily, at the end of the study, researchers found a slight correlation between long-term pet ownership and higher memory scores when compared to those who didn’t have pets.

Photo: Pixabay/fernando zhiminaicela

According to the Daily Mail, study leader Dr. Tiffany Braley said, “Prior studies have suggested that the human-animal bond may have health benefits like decreasing blood pressure and stress. Our results suggest pet ownership may also be protective against cognitive decline.”

According to the New York Post, the head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, Dr. Rosa Sancho, spoke about the research and said, “Humans love their animals, and pets can be an important source of companionship and comfort throughout our lives.”

Photo: Piqsels

She added that the study isn’t definitively conclusive and no one is sure if pet ownership truly contributes to long-term health benefits or lower rates of dementia. She said, “This research has yet to be published and it’s not yet possible to unpick the reasons behind the link the researchers have observed.”

While more research will need to be done, the early findings are quite promising! Pet ownership takes a lot of hard work and effort, but it may just pay off in more ways than we thought.

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