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Nervous System Health

Cynicism linked to increased risk for dementia

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Cynical people may have an increased risk of dementia, Medical Daily reported.

In a new study published in the journal Neurology, researchers surveyed 1,449 people who were approximately 71 years old at the beginning of the research period. Each participant underwent a dementia test and answered questions to determine their level of cynicism. 

Cynicism was defined as having distrust or believing that others are mainly motivated by selfish concerns. To assess cynicism, participants were asked to agree or disagree with statements such as: “I think most people would like to get ahead,” or, “It is safer to trust nobody.”

Based on their scores, researchers categorized the participants as having a high, moderate or low degree of cynicism.  Eight years later, 622 people underwent a follow-up test for dementia.

Overall, the researchers found that a high degree of cynicism tripled the risk of dementia among participants. Out of the 164 people with high levels of cynicism, 14 developed dementia – compared to nine people among the 212 people categorized as having a low level of cynicism.

Previous research has also indicated that cynicism is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

"These results add to the evidence that people's view on life and personality may have an impact on their health," study author Anna-Maija Tolppanen, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, said in a press release. "Understanding how a personality trait like cynicism affects risk for dementia might provide us with important insights on how to reduce risks for dementia."

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