Staying involved with other people not only gives you more years. It helps you remember them, too. That’s the main conclusion drawn by the authors of a new study published in the May edition of the American Journal of Public Health. Karen Ertel, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, commented that social contact could influence hormones that benefit or stimulate the brain in a way that creates a buffer against mental decline. Isolated individuals, she noted, had significantly more trouble with the memory tests. “This adds to a body of literature that really is showing pretty strong support that social activity and engagement may have a protective effect on cognitive decline,” she added. The study was paid for by the U.S. National Institute of Aging, but Christians may have a hard time refraining from greeting it with gentle “told you so” joshes. After all, we’ve been contemplating the many-splendored, community-building words of Jesus for 2,000 years: “I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

Kevin Bedan illustration