AlzU Blog

Can Personality Style Contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease?

It’s interesting to consider that some traits of our personality can actually influence overall health.  For example, 

it’s been scientifically proven that living a life of intense stress and being highly driven (what is sometimes called type A personality) can contribute to risk of heart disease and other disorders.
Stress has been found to be a factor in predisposition for risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but what about other personality and lifestyle traits?

Now there is recent scientific evidence that points to the probability that those with a more laid back personality may have a lower risk of getting AD and other types of dementia. 

According to Dr. Hui-Xin Wang at the Aging Research Center in Stockholm; “In the past, studies have shown that chronic distress can affect parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, possibly leading to dementia, but our findings suggest that having a relaxed and outgoing personality in combination with an active lifestyle may decrease the risk of developing dementia even further.”

Studies indicate that a social personality (particularly in those with an active social lifestyle), may lessen the impact of dementia.  According to a recent study, those who are socially isolated but relaxed had a fifty percent lower risk of developing dementia-compared with people who were socially isolated but experienced high stress and distress.  In the group of those who were outgoing socially and relaxed compared with those who were socially outgoing but prone to stress and distress-the laid back group was found to have 50 percent less risk for dementia.

The National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health (NCBI) report published a study conducted by Chapman, Duberstein, & Lyness that analyzed the relationship between personality traits and Alzheimer’s disease in a group of 767 participants 72 years old or older.  This group was followed in the study for over six years. 

In the study, participants considered more neurotic and less open and conscientious in personality were more associated with higher risk for AD. 

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