Positive thinking could help fight dementia risk
A new University College London (UCL) led study has found out that persistently engaging in negative thinking patterns may raise the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
In the study of people aged over 55, published in 'Alzheimer's & Dementia', researchers found “repetitive negative thinking” (RNT) is linked to subsequent cognitive decline as well as the deposition of harmful brain proteins linked to Alzheimer's. The researchers say RNT should now be further investigated as a potential risk factor for dementia, and psychological tools, such as mindfulness or meditation, should be studied to see if these could reduce dementia risk.
"Depression and anxiety in mid-life and old age are already known to be risk factors for dementia. Here, we found that certain thinking patterns implicated in depression and anxiety could be an underlying reason why people with those disorders are more likely to develop dementia," said lead author Dr Natalie Marchant, 'UCL Psychiatry'.
"Taken alongside other studies, which link depression and anxiety with dementia risk, we expect that chronic negative thinking patterns over a long period of time could increase the risk of dementia. We do not think the evidence suggests that short-term setbacks would increase one's risk of dementia," added Marchant.
"We hope that our findings could be used to develop strategies to lower people's risk of dementia by helping them to reduce their negative thinking patterns," said Marchant.