Study shows personality traits linked to risk of developing dementia

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 6 months ago

A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia has found a connection between certain personality traits and the risk of developing dementia. The analysis, which included data from eight smaller studies totaling 44,531 people, found that individuals with high levels of neuroticism and negative affect (such as anger and fear) had a higher risk of developing dementia over the long term. Additionally, those with low levels of conscientiousness, extroversion, and positive affect also had an increased risk.

On the other hand, the study found that individuals with positive affect, extroversion, and conscientiousness had a lower risk of developing dementia. However, it's important to note that the study did not find a clear link between personality type and evidence of underlying disease. This means that while there may be a correlation between personality traits and dementia risk, it is unclear if personality type is a direct cause of dementia.

Dr. Riddhi Patira, the leader of the frontotemporal dementia consortium at the University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, suggests that certain risk factors associated with neuroticism or a negative affect, such as trouble sleeping and higher rates of depression, could contribute to the increased risk of dementia.

While the study did not find direct causation, individuals with a more negative affect or neurotic personality can still take steps to reduce their risk. This includes engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, taking care of heart and blood vessel health, having a social support system, engaging in mentally stimulating activities, and wearing a helmet during activities that carry a risk of head injuries. By implementing these lifestyle modifications, individuals can potentially lower their risk of developing dementia.

It's important to remember that genetics is not the sole influencer of dementia risk. By reducing risk factors and engaging in brain-healthy behaviors early in life, individuals can help protect themselves against the development of dementia-related changes. While following these recommendations does not guarantee that one won't develop dementia, it may increase the chances of being in a better position if disease-related changes do occur.

In conclusion, while there is a link between certain personality traits and the risk of dementia, more research is needed to determine the exact relationship between the two. However, individuals can still take steps to reduce their risk by making lifestyle modifications that promote brain health.


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