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Calm And Centered – Less Dementia, Study Says

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 9:59 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Aging, Stress, FDA and Prescription Drugs

Dementia and Alzheimers may be effected by personality traits and stress.



IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons/ progressive dementia patient/ author: Dr. Laughlin Dawes


Are you calm and centered or operating in a tornado?  That may make the difference between an increased risk for developing dementia or not, says a new study out of the UK.

In the research out of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, 500 people filled out a questionnaire about their personalities. The researchers were looking for a few qualities – those who were easily distressed or neuroticism, and those who were extraverted, or willing to talk to people, with a rich social life.

Those who were calm and self-satisfied, even if they were socially inactive, had a 50 percent lower risk of developing dementia during the six year study, reports the BBC.

The lower dementia group rates were also found in those who were outgoing and calm, compared to the outgoing group prone to distress. The group that did the worst were the socially isolated prone to distress.

During the six years of the study, 144 people developed dementia.

Dr Hui-Xin Wang of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who led the research tells BBC News: "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. 

Exactly how mental attitude influences the risk for dementia is not clear.  Stress may release chemicals that damage tissues of the brain.

The new research indicates those with a great deal of stress should make an effort to be socially active.  One in three over the age of 65, will die with dementia.

The study is published in the journal Neurology.

Another study from Finland and Sweden that followed 1,400 people over 20 years, found those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife years were also less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease when they aged, compared to the non coffee drinkers. That finding comes from the Finnish Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia Study out of the University of Kuopio, Finland and the Karolinska Institute.    Tea did not have the safe effect. #

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