Positive Attitudes About Aging Reduce Risk of Dementia in Older Adults

Positive Attitudes About Aging Reduce Risk of Dementia in Older Adults

Dementia and other cognitive diseases really are in your mind. And not just how they affect you. New research shows that maintaining a positive attitude toward aging and general life outlook reduces the chances of cognitive declines. The research comes out of the Yale School of Public Health, and looked at nearly five thousand people with an average age of seventy years. The results offer some hope to doctors and patients both that there might be something more to do against Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases than simply crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

The study tracked mental and emotional attitudes of participants. Those who maintained a positive outlook were half as likely to develop dementia than others who had a negative expectation. The researchers say the results indicate that outlook and mental expectation are being shown to have a direct link to your actual health. They say the study should be proof that public campaigns to encourage positive outlooks on aging, rather than resigned and dismal views, should be started to help the populace.

The only catch is the results seem to apply best to participants who had a certain gene variant. But with or without that particular gene marker, staying positive is still helpful.

Key Points:

  • 1Positive beliefs about old age protects all individuals from developing dementia, including those that carry a gene that put them at a higher risk for developing dementia.
  • 2Those who carry the gene and have positive old age beliefs are 50% less likely to develop dementia than people with the gene that have negative old age beliefs.
  • 3These findings help support a campaign against ageism, which is the main cause for negative old age beliefs.


Research has shown that older persons who have acquired positive beliefs about old age from their surrounding culture are less likely to develop dementia.
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