By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Marriage is not only good for the heart but it may be good for the mind, too. Being married may protect you from dementia.

A new analysis finds people who are single for life are 42% more likely to develop dementia compared to people who are married, and people who are widowed are 20% more likely to develop the disease.

For widowers, the stress of losing a loved one probably plays a role. Married people tend to lead healthier lifestyles and have more social connections which helps exercise and challenge the brain and that can be protective.

Does that mean single people should run out and get hitched? No, but if you’re married and your spouse is a little annoying, perhaps you can cut him or her a little slack.

Dr. Mallika Marshall