Tranquil Personality May Reduce Dementia Risk

Posted by Admin on April 9, 2009
    People with a peaceful personality who are also socially active may be somewhat protected against dementia as they age, whether they are extroverted or introverted, a recent study discovered.     The investigation, which was conducted in Sweden and reported in the journal Neurology, measured and compared three traits in a group of  506 elderly people with an average age of 83. The three traits were extroversion (openness in talking to others), neuroticism (the level of distress, negativity and nervousness in one’s life) and social activity (the extent of interaction with others).

The subjects were followed for six years. In that period, 144 developed dementia.The study found that elderly people with an extroverted yet tranquil (non-neurotic) personality had a 49 percent lower risk of developing dementia than those who were extroverted and prone to being distressed.

But older people with a calm, relaxed personality who were at the same time socially inactive were also 49 percent less likely to develop dementia compared with seniors who were neurotic and socially inactive.

“In the past, studies have shown that chronic distress can affect parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, possibly leading to dementia, but our findings suggest that having a calm and outgoing personality in combination with a socially active lifestyle may decrease the risk of developing dementia even further,” said study author Hui-Xin Wang, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, according to an institute release.

“The good news is, lifestyle factors can be modified, as opposed to genetic factors, which cannot be controlled. But these are early results, so how exactly mental attitude influences risk for dementia is not clear,” said Wang.

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