The Personality Trait That Lowers Dementia Risk

The trait may encourage people to keep their mind active, which is a protective factor against dementia.

The trait may encourage people to keep their mind active, which is a protective factor against dementia.

People who are open to experience have a lower risk of developing dementia, research finds.

People who are open to experience are more likely to be imaginative, sensitive to their feelings, intellectually curious and seekers of variety.

Openness to experience is one of the five major aspects of personality.

Being more open to experience may encourage people to keep their mind active, which a protective factor against dementia.

People with higher openness to experience also tend to have higher levels of education, which also reduces dementia risk.

The second personality trait linked to dementia in the new study was neuroticism.

Being neurotic increased the risk of developing dementia by 6 percent, the researchers found.

The major personality trait of neuroticism involves a tendency towards worry and moodiness.

People who are neurotic are more likely to experience negative emotions like depression, anxiety, guilt and envy.

Other studies have found that being neurotic may double the risk of developing dementia later in life.

Neurotic people are particularly sensitive to chronic stress.

Personality, though, is not destiny, when it comes to dementia — good brain health is about nature and nurture.

Many factors can reduce the risk of developing dementia such as a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating properly and getting enough exercise.

Indeed, making four out of five critical lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 percent.

Keeping the mind active is thought to be important for reducing the risk of dementia.

Learning new activities, travel and deepening social relationships may all be beneficial.

The present study included 524 people who were given tests of personality and symptoms of pre-dementia.

Ms Emmeline Ayers, the study’s first author, explained:

“While more studies are needed, our results provide evidence that personality traits play an independent role in the risk for or protection against specific pre-dementia syndromes.

From a clinical perspective, these findings emphasize the importance of accounting for aspects of personality when assessing for dementia risk.”

The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Ayers et al., 2020).

The Common Drink That Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.

Drinking higher amounts of coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, research suggests.

Coffee was linked to reduced levels of amyloid plaques in the brain — these are thought to be key to Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.

People who drank coffee also had higher levels of cognitive function.

Another recent study found that drinking tea or coffee may reduce the risk of stroke and dementia by around one-third.

Dr Samantha Gardener, the study’s first author, explained:

“We found participants with no memory impairments and with higher coffee consumption at the start of the study had lower risk of transitioning to mild cognitive impairment—which often precedes Alzheimer’s disease—or developing Alzheimer’s disease over the course of the study.”

Drinking coffee could be an easy way to delay Alzheimer’s disease, Dr Gardener said:

“It’s a simple thing that people can change.

It could be particularly useful for people who are at risk of cognitive decline but haven’t developed any symptoms.

We might be able to develop some clear guidelines people can follow in middle age and hopefully it could then have a lasting effect.”

Increase to two cups

The study suggests that for a person drinking one cup of coffee a day, it may be worth increasing to two cups a day.

Dr Gardener said:

“If the average cup of coffee made at home is 240g, increasing to two cups a day could potentially lower cognitive decline by eight percent after 18 months.

It could also see a five percent decrease in amyloid accumulation in the brain over the same time period.”

However, the study wasn’t able to determine the maximum number of cups of coffee that is beneficial or whether caffeination or adding milk make any difference.

Dr Gardener said:

“We need to evaluate whether coffee intake could one day be recommended as a lifestyle factor aimed at delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (Gardener et al., 2021).

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