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Spending time with grandkids could improve brain health in older women.

Spending time with grandkids could improve brain health in older women.

It's no secret that our older relatives love to spend time with their grandchildren, but a recent study has shown that this time together can have significant brain health benefits too.

According to HealthDay News, the study — which was published in the online journal Menopause in April — subjected 186 Australian women between the ages of 57 and 68 to three separate tests intended to gauge mental acuity. The researchers found that the women who spent one day during the week tending to their grandkids performed the best on two of the three tests given.

Conversely, the findings also determined that women who spent too much time with grandkids had an adverse effect on brain health. The study noted that those who looked after their grandkids for at least five days per week scored worse on the memory and mental processing speed tests. Although scientists could not point to a definite cause-and-effect relationship between the two, they did suggest that there was a sweet spot where quality time with grandchildren was mentally beneficial, and that tipping too far the other way — either spending too much time or no time with grandkids — could have negative consequences for the mind.

"Because grandmothering is such an important and common social role for postmenopausal women, we need to know more about its effects on their future health," said Dr. Margery Gass, executive director for the North American Menopause Society, in an official statement. "This study is a good start."

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