CogniFit's Science blog: A Negative View On Life Could Lead To Dementia

A Negative View On Life Could Lead To Dementia

People always say life is too short to worry about the little things or to constantly view the glass as half empty. But new research shows one’s negative view can actually also have consequences in life down the road.

A study shows that having an upbeat outlook can help people avoid dementia later in life.

An article in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology found that those who rate their health as poor or fair are more likely to develop dementia down the road. Typically a loss of cognitive function instills feelings of fear and insecurity within individuals. And this insecurity can play tricks on your mind, literally.

It seems outlandish that how we feel about our health could bring on such horrific consequences. However, researchers have found that our perceptions can influence the progression of such chronic illnesses as dementia and heart disease. Those who remain positive and optimistic tend to steer clear of diseases that can be life-changing.

The director of Neuroepidemiology at the University of Bordeaux in France says talking to patients about their health can help identify who may be at risk of the illness. Dr. Christophe Tzourio says that it can be an easy tool to get people to rate their own health. From there, doctors can determine who is at risk and who is not, which can be particularly helpful for those with no symptoms or memory problems.

The study that sparked all of this took over 8,000 people who were 65 years or older. Each participant was asked to rate their own health and over the course of the study, over 600 developed dementia. The findings were startling as the risk of dementia was 70% higher in people who rated their health as poor and 34% higher in people who rated their health as fair.

In addition to this, the study found a high correlation between one’s health assessment and the development of dementia for those who did not have any memory problems. People who had no signs of cognitive decline were twice as likely to develop dementia as those who rated their health as good.

While this is one initial study, it is remarkable that such results were found. It has led to further research to determine if a person can actually develop dementia based on a self-inflicted diagnosis. Doctors believe rating one’s health as poor can be connected with the person limiting their social interaction and in turn accelerating the process. But regardless, it is something that has scientists and researchers on the lookout.