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New Study says Finding Purpose Promotes Brain Health

Most everyone knows that having a sense of purpose is a healthy endeavor.  But did you know that recent studies point to the possibility that feeling our life has meaning can actually reduce cognitive decline in the brain?

A new study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago looked at the brain tissue from over 240 people after death-during a long term study of 1400 seniors.  The study found that although some individuals had similar brain damage from Alzheimer’s disease, the level of cognitive decline was different.

Scientists were intrigued by the comparison in brain tissue and cognitive decline.
After delving deeper, researchers discovered that those participants who reported feeling a higher level of purpose in life ended up with overall higher functioning brains. Other factors were considered such as education and exercise.

One article, published by the American Heart Association, indicated that having a sense of purpose in life may also decrease the likeliness of brain damage caused by a blockage of blood flow.  Blockage of blood flow in the brain could result in stroke or damaged tissue-which may contribute to risk of dementia and AD.

According to Patricia Boyle, PhD, study co-author at Rush Alzhiemer’s Disease Center stated,“Mental health, in particular positive psychological factors such as having a purpose in life, are emerging as very potent determinants of health outcomes.”

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