Tags: dementia | attitude | older

Dementia Tied to Attitude

Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012 01:23 PM




Feeling “young at heart” may benefit the mind, as well.
A new study out of the U.K. has found seniors who think of themselves as “older” are far more likely to be diagnosed with dementia and score lower on a standard screening test for the mental-health disorder.
The research, conducted by the University of Exeter, suggests attitude and outlook can significantly shape our mental and physical health.
"Our research shows that the effect of age perceptions on performance can be dramatic, and that seeing oneself as 'older' significantly increases a person's risk of being diagnosed with dementia on such tests,” said lead researcher Dr. Catherine Haslam of the University of Exeter. “It highlights the importance of taking a person's attitude towards their age into account when assessing for dementia."
The study, presented this week at the International Conference on Social Identity and Health, involved 68 people -- aged 60 to 70 years -- who were primed to either feel older or younger than other participants. Those in the “older” group were told the participants ranged in age from 40 to 70, and were encouraged to think of themselves as being at the upper end of the age spectrum. Those in the “younger” group were told that participants’ ages ranged from 60 to 90 years, encouraging them to think of themselves at the lower end of the age spectrum.
All participants were then given one of two articles to read, on the effects of age on memory loss or on the impact of aging on general cognitive ability. They then completed a standard dementia screening test.
Researchers found 70 percent of people encouraged to see themselves as older and to believe that aging was associated with a general decline in ability, met the criterion for dementia. But only 14 percent of those in the “younger” group met the guidelines – a fivefold difference.

© HealthDay

 
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Seniors who think of themselves as 'older' are far more likely to be diagnosed with dementia.
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2012-23-13
Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012 01:23 PM
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