Distrusting and Cynical? You May be Hurting Your Brain: Dementia Linked to Cynical Distrust

First Posted: May 29, 2014 10:03 AM EDT

Are you distrusting and cynical? Then you may be hurting your brain. Scientists have discovered that cynical distrust could raise your risk for developing dementia later in life.

Cynical distrust is defined as the belief that others are mainly motivated by selfish concerns. It's actually been associated with other health problems in the past, such as heart disease. That's why scientists decided to take a closer look at cynical distrust and see how else it might impact an individual.

The scientists gave 1,449 people with an average age of 71 tests for dementia and a questionnaire to measure their level of cynicism. This questionnaire was shown to be reliable in the past. In all, a total of 622 people completed two tests for dementia, with the last one an average of eight years after the study was started. Over that time, 46 people were diagnosed with dementia. The researchers then adjusted for other factors that could affect dementia risk, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.

So what did they find? It turns out that of the people with high levels of cynical distrust were about three times more likely to develop dementia than people with low levels of cynicism. The researchers also tested to see if death risk increased among those who were cynical, but no relation was found.

"These results add to the evidence that people's view on life and personality may have an impact on their health," said Anna-Maija Tolppanen, one of the researchers, in a news release. "Understanding how a personality trait like cynicism affects risk for dementia might provide us with important insights on how to reduce risks for dementia."

The findings reveal a bit more about what influences the risk for dementia. More specifically, it reveals how your view of the world can impact your health-and even your brain.

The findings are published in the journal Neurology.

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