Nervous people get dementia sooner (Study)

A new study finds that the protection of the brain’s cognitive abilities after aging depends on a person’s personality. [사진=게티이미지뱅크]
A new study finds that the protection of the brain’s cognitive abilities after aging depends on a person’s personality. If you are an extrovert or conscientious person, you will not suffer from mild cognitive impairment until later in life, but if you are a nervous person, your risk of cognitive decline may increase. CNN reported on the 11th (local time) based on a paper by a researcher at the University of Victoria, Canada, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association (APA).

“Personality traits reflect relatively enduring patterns of thinking and behavior, which can have a cumulative effect on healthy and unhealthy behaviors and thinking patterns throughout life,” said first author Tomiko Yoneda, a postdoctoral research fellow in psychology at the University of Victoria. It means there is,” he said. “Accumulation of lifetime experiences can influence susceptibility to certain diseases or disorders, such as mild cognitive impairment, or influence individual differences in the ability to withstand age-related neurological changes,” he said.

This association is clinically observed, but it is similar to the “egg-chicken” relationship of which comes first, said Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt School of Medicine Brain Health Center. He, who was not involved in the study, said: “Certain personalities may increase risk by inducing cognitive decline or lifelong behaviors predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease, and may develop as a product of direct biological effects associated with early disease pathology.” he explained.

The researchers analyzed the personalities of 1953 people participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a longitudinal study of older people in the Chicago area that began in 1997. The study analyzed how people tolerate cognitive decline in later life and how they relate to three main personality traits: conscientiousness, extraversion, and neuroticism.

Neuroticism is a personality trait that affects how well a person handles stress. A nervous person looks at life in a state of anxiety, anger, and self-consciousness, often feeling hopelessly overwhelmed or threatened by the slightest setbacks. A sincere person has a high level of self-discipline. Organized and goal-oriented. Extroverts are passionate about life and often tend to be active and sociable.

“People with high conscientiousness scores or low neuroticism scores were significantly less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment during the study,” said Yoneda. He said that for every additional six people scored on the conscientiousness scale, “the risk of transitioning from normal cognitive function to mild cognitive impairment was reduced by 22%.” This can be interpreted as that 80-year-olds with high conscientiousness can live two more years without cognitive problems than 80-year-olds with low conscientiousness. Extroverted personality traits mean that you can live one more year without dementia, the researchers found. Older adults with an extrovert personality had a higher ability to recover to normal cognitive function even after a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.

On the other hand, higher levels of neuroticism also increased the risk of conversion to cognitive decline. Researcher Yoneda said that for every additional 7 points a person scored on the neuroticism scale, “there was a 12% increased risk of cognitive decline.” It is interpreted that this can lead to loss of healthy cognitive ability for at least one year.

This isn’t the first study to prove a link between personality and brain function. An existing study by Northwestern University researchers in the US in 2021 showed that people who were more open to experience, more conscientious, and less nervous performed better on cognitive tests and showed less cognitive decline over time.

The paper can be found at the following link (

By Han Gun-pil, reporter [email protected]

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