(CNN) -- A new research paper published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggests that people who have been single their entire life are 42% more likely to develop dementia than those who are married, and those who are widowed may have a 20% higher risk.
The study does not suggest being married itself reduces the risk of dementia, but it does imply that various lifestyle factors such as living a more active, healthier and social life are more common with those who do have a partner, and that does help to reduce cognitive decline.
According to the World Health Organization, dementia ranks as the 7th leading cause of death worldwide with nearly 10 million new cases diagnosed every year.
The Alzheimer's Association lists some lifestyle habits to keep you mentally stimulated, such as breaking a sweat. Physical activity has been linked to reduced risk of cognitive decline, so has reading and educating yourself. Also, try maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.