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Connect with Friends
After tracking the social behaviors of more than 700 people over 15 years, Australian researchers found that those who maintained more close friendships scored better on memory tests (recalling symbols, pictures, and words). Being in regular contact with friends can keep you on your toes by engaging the problem-solving regions of your brain (as when you debate your latest book club pick or help a friend through a crisis). "It's important to be socially connected from a young age so that the lifestyle patterns you develop become ingrained," says Peter Snyder, PhD, chief research officer of the Lifespan Hospital System in Rhode Island. "We've found that when people prioritize these relationships, they also protect their brain function."