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Being conscientious wards off dementia

Being conscientious wards off dementia
2nd October 2007

The more conscientious you are, the less likely you are to develop Alzheimer's disease in old age.

That is according to a long-term US study, which used questionnaires to rate participants' self-discipline in 1994 and last year conducted follow-up examinations.

Some 176 individuals developed Alzheimer's disease in the 12-year interval.

Those who had conscientiousness scores in the 90th percentile or higher had an 89 per cent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's than those whose scores ranked in the tenth percentile or lower.

The researchers suggest that conscientious individuals may be more likely to experience educational or occupational success, both of which are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. Conscientiousness has been linked to resilience.

"These factors might lessen the adverse consequences of negative life events and chronic psychological distress, which have been associated with risk of dementia in old age" the investigators note.

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