Would you describe yourself as a cynical person? You might want to rethink that attitude. A new study has found that cynical people have a greater chance of developing dementia than those with a better attitude about life.
The study, published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, tested 1,449 people with an average age of 71. Participants underwent two separate tests — one for dementia and one for cynicism. Researchers found that the study participants who were the most cynical according to the test were also the most likely to develop dementia.
"There have been previous studies that showed that people who were cynical were more likely to die earlier and have other poor health outcomes, but no one that we could tell ever looked at dementia," said Anna-Maija Tolppanen, one of the study's authors and a professor at the University of Eastern Finland. "We have seen some studies that show people who are more open and optimistic have a lower risk for dementia, so we thought this was a good question to ask."
The cynicism test asked participants to evaluate questions such as "Most people will use somewhat unfair reasons to gain profit or an advantage rather than lose it"; "I think most people would lie to get ahead"; and "It is safer to trust nobody."
Participants who agreed with these statements were considered highly cynical. Those with the highest scores on the cynicism test had a 2.54 times greater risk of dementia than those with the lowest cynicism rating.
So, the next time you find yourself feeling distrustful of others, you might want to try to turn that attitude around. You will probably have a better day for it, and you may just help to protect your brain from damage in the process. Now that's a win-win!
Related on MNN:
- Dementia dogs give patients back their lives
- How a quick pen and paper test can spot signs of dementia