From kind to selfish, funny or shy – we all have dozens of personality traits that make us special.
Scientists say they could help predict the risk of developing dementia, a disease that destroys memory and affects millions in old age.
There is no cure for this disease, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form (about 75% of cases of dementia).
But knowing what increases the risk can help people try to prevent it.
A new study provides more clues about type of people who usually develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers looked at the Big Five personality types familiar among mental health experts.
- living conscience: This describes a person who is responsible, cautious, goal-oriented and detail-oriented. They have high impulse control and tend to be organized
- consent: This describes a person who is respectful, compassionate, confident and tries to avoid problems. They tend to be more cooperative and helpful
- neuroticism: This describes a person who gravitates toward disturbing emotions, such as anxiety and depression. They get upset easily
- openness: This describes a person who is open to new experiences and curious about the world. They are creative and happy to talk about abstract ideas
- Extraversion or extraversion: This describes a person who is looking for excitement and is very active and sociable. They are talkative, have a lot of emotional expression and have energy around others
About 3,000 participants in a study called the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) completed a comprehensive personality test and, one year later, had their brains scanned.
Brain scans showed whether there was a buildup of proteins in the brain, which are linked to cell death and memory loss over time.
Tau creates tangles inside a brain cell, while amyloid creates plaques around the cell.
The results of the study showed that one personality type, neuroticism, showed an increased risk of protein accumulation.
But conscientiousness made this less likely.
The results were supported by a review of 12 existing studies that investigated the link between Personality traits and dementia.
was the paper published In the Journal of Biological Psychiatry.
She noted that personality was a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease given that it was present before tangles and plaques in the brain.
Commenting on the findings, Dr James Connell, Head of Translational Sciences at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘While such observational studies can be important for selecting health trends, this type of research is not able to tell us about cause and effect. .
This study supports the association between personality types, lifestyle choice, and characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease, but there is no direct evidence that personality differences influence disease processes.
“Dementia is a condition caused by complex physical changes in the brain that are not due to your personality alone but likely to be a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors as we age.”
Dr. Claire Sexton, director of science and outreach programs at the Alzheimer’s Association, who was not involved in the study, said, Medical news today: “Research has looked at other personality traits, such as openness and extraversion, in relation to dementia, but neuroticism and conscientiousness have the strongest link, according to recent meta-analyses.
“These correlations appear to be linear without a threshold […] There is no set level that elicits resistance or vulnerability.”
Dr. Sexton suggested that people’s personality patterns may predispose to Alzheimer’s disease due to lifestyle habits.
“For example, it has been shown that individuals with higher conscientiousness have healthier lifestyles – in terms of physical activity, smoking, sleep, depression, cognitive stimulation, etc. – than those with lower conscientiousness.”
“There is a strong body of research linking lifestyle, dementia risk, and biomarkers.”
But it’s also possible that personalities and behaviors trigger the inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Antonio Terracciano, a professor in the Department of Geriatrics at Florida State University, said: “There are aspects of neuroticism and conscientiousness that may directly influence the risk of developing dementia.
“Traits like neuroticism shape our emotional lives, the way we handle stress and deal with our feelings. Conscience is determined by our level of grit, persistence, and planning.”
What causes dementia?
There are many different types of dementia.
This cannot be guaranteed prevent The most common type, Alzheimer’s disease.
The NHS says a healthy lifestyle helps.
Time and time again, studies have shown that those who choose a healthy life have lower odds of developing the disease – but that doesn’t mean they will never be diagnosed.
The NHS says: “Experts agree that what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain.”
This means that you can Help reduce your risk From dementia by:
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- exercise regularly
- Keep alcohol within recommended limits
- stop smoking
- Maintaining blood pressure at a healthy level
Many conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and alcoholism, appear more often in people with dementia.
It can be prevented or managed using the tips above.
Dr. Connell said: “Our brains are amazing, and research suggests that staying physically and mentally active, eating a healthy balanced diet, not smoking, drinking within recommended guidelines, and keeping weight, cholesterol and blood pressure in check are all good ways to keep your brain healthy. As we get older.”