Navigation Links
Having a 'Purpose in Life' May Help Shield You From Dementia
Date:5/7/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- If you're looking for a way to keep dementia at bay, a new study suggests you can do so by developing a firm purpose in life.

The findings don't prove that having a purpose will make a difference, and it's possible that the researchers missed another important factor that's at play. Still, the study found that people who had more purpose -- as defined by the researchers -- seemed to be less affected by the brain-clogging gunk that's considered to be a cause of Alzheimer's disease.

"Somehow, having a purpose allows people to cope with the physical signs of Alzheimer's disease," said Patricia Boyle, an associate professor at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Boyle and colleagues looked at tests given to 246 older people who later died and underwent autopsies that explored the state of their brains.

The researchers defined a purpose in life as "the tendency to find meaning from life experience, to be intentional and focused," Boyle said. "It's an indicator of well-being, that life is good and you are contributing to your life, you're making decisions."

To determine purpose in life, the researchers analyzed answers from a 10-item psychological test.

Among those who had a lot of brain gunk -- known as plaques and tangles -- the ones who had greater purpose in life appeared to be less affected by a decline in their mental (or "cognitive") powers. "The rate of cognitive decline was about 30 percent slower for someone with greater purpose in life, compared to someone with less purpose," Boyle said.

The researchers found that they were able to link a higher sense of purpose to better brain health even when they adjusted their statistics so they wouldn't be thrown off by high or low numbers of people with illness, signs of depression and other factors.

It's still not clear that purpose in life has anything to do with mental powers in old age. But if there is a connection, it may have something to do with the brain's capacity, said Dr. James Burke, director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at Duke University Medical Center.

Similarly, people who have more education seem to be better able to tolerate brain-clogging plaques and tangles without having as many cognitive problems, Burke said. "My own analogy is that if a city has more roads, it can tolerate more blocked roads while still allowing you to get to your destination. This is commonly used as the explanation, but difficult to prove."

The study is published in the May issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

In other Alzheimer's disease news, a small new study indicates that deep brain stimulation -- a treatment being tested to treat mental problems -- seems to help the brain work more efficiently in people who appear to have a mild form of the disease. (The disease can't be conclusively diagnosed until after death.)

The researchers, Gwenn Smith of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and colleagues, examined four men and one woman who underwent the treatment for a year.

In deep brain stimulation, the brain is zapped with an electronic pulse that comes from a pacemaker-like device implanted in the chest.

The study, which was published online May 7 in the Archives of Neurology, was very small and "a very early look" at a new kind of treatment, noted Burke, who was not involved in the research. More research is needed, he added.

More information

For more about Alzheimer's disease, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Patricia A. Boyle, Ph.D., associate professor, Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; James R. Burke, M.D., Ph.D., director, Memory Disorders Clinic, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; May 2012, Archives of General Psychiatry; May 7, 2012, Archives of Neurology, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Having Prediabetes May Not Kick-Start Prevention Efforts
2. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; Louisiana is 46th Among All States in Maternal Mortality
3. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; Georgia is 50th Among All States in Maternal Mortality
4. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; Maryland is 48th Among All States in Maternal Mortality
5. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; District of Columbia is 51st Among All States in Maternal Mortality
6. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; Arkansas is 44th Among All States in Maternal Mortality
7. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; Delaware is 42nd Among All States in Maternal Mortality
8. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; Mississippi is 45th Among All States in Maternal Mortality
9. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; Nebraska is 40th Among All States in Maternal Mortality
10. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; Oklahoma is 39th Among All States in Maternal Mortality
11. New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; New Mexico is 49th Among All States in Maternal Mortality
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Having a 'Purpose in Life' May Help Shield You From Dementia
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... 12, 2016 , ... Young Asset Protection, a full service ... the latest charity campaign in their community enrichment program. Art Expression utilizes after-school ... cause are currently being accepted at: http://artexpressioninc.org/ . , Art Expression is ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... J Thomas ... by continuing it’s commitment to act as Agents of Change in the community, ... with area homeless families to fulfill immediate needs and help them move into ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... Pa. (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... sort through a world of exterior design possibilities. CertainTeed, North America’s leading brand ... tools by expanding the product offerings showcased in the mobile version of the ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... The Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center (CCASC) invites teens ages 11-18 ... night of fun for teens with and without special needs to gather in a safe ... the event. The dance will take place on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 7 to 9:30 ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... Film Studios. The new cartoon style themes are great for showcasing pictures, videos as ... customized scene generators, titles like introductions, lower thirds, transitions and a beautiful frame overlay. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... 12, 2016  Innophos Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: IPHS ), ... today announced that it will host a live conference call ... discuss its fourth quarter and full year 2015 results. ... release detailing fourth quarter and full year results will be ... --> --> The conference ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... -- SI-BONE, Inc., a medical device company that pioneered the use of ... (MIS) device indicated for fusion for certain disorders of the sacroiliac ... Administrative Contractor (MAC) covering the states of Connecticut ... Massachusetts , Minnesota , ... Rhode Island , Vermont ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... 2016 On Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, surgeons ... David,s North Austin Medical Center successfully completed the first ... ® Surgical System with Trumpf Medical,s advanced operating ... Lakshman , M.D., colorectal surgeon at the Texas Institute ... Table Motion technology, which seamlessly combines the da Vinci ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: