Purposeful personality may guard brain against decline, researcher says
CHICAGO - A surprising study of elderly people suggests that those who see themselves as self-disciplined, organized achievers have a lower risk for developing Alzheimer's disease than people who are less conscientious.
A purposeful personality may somehow protect the brain, perhaps by increasing neural connections that can act as a reserve against mental decline, said study co-author Robert Wilson of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center. Astoundingly, the brains of some of the dutiful people in the study were examined after their deaths and were found to have lesions that would meet accepted criteria for Alzheimer's - even though these people had shown no signs of dementia.
"This adds to our knowledge that lifestyle, personality, how we think, feel and behave are very importantly tied up with risk for this terrible illness," Wilson said. "It may suggest new ideas for trying to delay the onset of this illness."
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