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Editor's Correspondence
November 9, 2009

Late-Life Social Activity

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2009 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2009

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(20):1931-1932. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.408

With great interest we read the article by Buchman and coauthors.1 When being involved in social activities would decrease the decline in motor function in elderly individuals, interesting opportunities for intervention are offered. However, the design of their study is not appropriate to answer this question. The main reason is that many of the social activities that were assessed also potentially included some sort of physical activity. For example, subjects reporting to go to restaurants or sporting events will differ from subjects who do not because, for example, they are able to walk and sit for a long time. It is entirely unclear whether it is the social aspect of the activities that accounts for the aforementioned association or the physical components. Similarly, we disagree with the authors that the ongoing randomized trial of participation in Experience Corps will shed more light on this issue because this study was not designed to answer this question.2 The entanglement of social, physical, and cognitive engagement in this activity will prohibit any speculations regarding the relationship between involvement in social activities and change in motor function.

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