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Cynics 'more at risk of dementia'

02 June 2014 09:15

Dementia usually occurs in people over the age of 65

Dementia usually occurs in people over the age of 65

Cynical people face a greater risk of developing dementia as they get older, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland have found that individuals who display high levels of "cynical distrust" are three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia than those with low levels.

The team, led by Dr Anna-Maija Tolppanen, defined cynical distrust as the belief that others are mainly motivated by selfish concerns.

Dementia is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. This includes problems with memory loss, thinking speed, mental agility, language, understanding and judgement.

The cognitive condition, which affects around 800,000 people in the UK, usually occurs in people over the age of 65.

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The scientists used a questionnaire to measure cynicism levels in 1,449 people with an average age of 71, while participants were also given two tests for dementia.

Some 622 of the subjects completed the tests over an average period of eight years, during which time a total of 46 individuals were diagnosed with the condition.

Findings were adjusted to take account of factors known to influence dementia risk, including raised blood pressure and cholesterol, and smoking.

Furthermore, 14 of the 164 people with high cynicism scores went on to develop dementia compared with nine of the 212 with low levels of cynicism.

Dr Tolppanen claims the results add to the existing evidence that people's view on life and personality may have an impact on their health in later life.