Women who are anxious, jealous, or moody and distressed in middle age may be at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life, according to a nearly 40 year study.
“Most Alzheimer’s research has been devoted to factors such as education, heart and blood risk factors, head trauma, family history and genetics,” said Lena Johannsson of the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“Personality may influence the individual’s risk for dementia through its effect on behaviour, lifestyle or reactions to stress.”
For the study, 800 women with an average age of 46 were followed for 38 years and given personality tests which looked at their level of neuroticism and extraversion or introversion, along with memory tests.
Of those, 19% developed dementia.
The study found that women who scored highest on the tests for neuroticism had double the risk of developing dementia compared to those who scored lowest on the tests.
A total of 16 of the 63 women, or 25%, who were easily distressed and withdrawn developed Alzheimer’s disease, compared to eight out of the 64 people, or 13%, of those who were not easily distressed and were outgoing.
The results of the study are published in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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