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Positive Outlook Cuts Chances of Dementia
Date:1/19/2009

New research suggests relaxed, outgoing people less likely to get Alzheimer's

MONDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Sociable people who don't sweat the small stuff may be more likely to remember the small stuff as they age, suggests new research exploring the link between personality and the incidence of Alzheimer's disease.

"Older people who are active, outgoing and relaxed may be less likely to develop dementia," said study author Hui-Xin Wang, with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

The study, published in the Jan. 20 issue of Neurology, adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting a link between personality traits, lifestyle and Alzheimer's disease.

According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's disease currently affects between 2.4 million and 4.5 million Americans, and that number will increase significantly as the population ages unless the disease can be effectively treated or prevented.

Researchers questioned 506 older people about their personality traits and lifestyle, to measure their sociability and disposition to stress. After six years, 144 people had developed some sort of dementia, but researchers discovered that calm, more relaxed people, whether they had active social lives or not, were 50 percent less likely to develop dementia than those who had higher levels of neuroticism.

People who were both calm and outgoing, with active social lives, were also 50 percent less likely to develop dementia.

The study found that less neurotic people were more calm and self-satisfied than their more neurotic counterparts, while outgoing people tended to be more socially active and optimistic than less extroverted people.

"Strategies to change lifestyle, such as having an active lifestyle, engagement in different leisure activities, i.e. mental, social and physical activities, or having a rich social network, may protect against dementia
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