Across New England, sap lines on maple trees begin their run producing maple syrup. Songbirds such as the chickadee begin whistling, “hey, sweetie!” from the backyard feeders at our communities As the snow recedes and springtime beckons, many of us recognize a change in spirit and improved outlook. Interestingly enough, recent research indicates that having a positive outlook may decrease the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder.
Findings from a study reported in the latest issue of Neurology found a potential link between personality and the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. The study questioned just over 500 people about their personality traits and lifestyle. The participants in the study were then followed for six years. Over the six years of follow-up, 144 of the participants developed Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder.
The researchers found that participants who reported being calm and relaxed had a 50% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as compared to others in the study who reported being nervous and easily upset. Regardless of the activity in their social lives, those reporting personality traits marked by calmness and self-satisfaction were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The study also found that outgoing people were more likely to be optimistic about life as compared to their more introverted counterparts.
Researchers note that further study is needed to more fully understand the relationship of personality, lifestyle and risk for Alzheimer’s disease. On a positive note, our understanding of various lifestyle factors that may protect against Alzheimer’s disease is growing. With more insight and information, we can make changes in our lives to protect ourselves from this disease.