A new study coming out of Sweden is warning women to live a calmer and less cluttered lifestyle in order to avoid the onset of Alzheimer’s in later life.
The study, which followed 800 women over almost 40 years, found neuroticism almost doubled the chance of these women developing the disease.
Researchers defined a ‘neurotic’ woman as one who was moody, stressed or jealous. Over regular intervals, the selected women who were identified with these traits underwent psychological examination on both their personality and memory capacity. Those who showed prolonged evidence of neurotic behaviour tended to rank worse in the memory tests.
“No other study has shown that one style of midlife personality increased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease over a period of nearly 40 years,” told University of Gothenburg researcher and study author, Lena Johansson.
However if you think of yourself as stressed, moody or jealous, don’t get too worried yet, as others are still not convinced of the reliability of these claims. While the study definitely does prove a correlation between these personality factors and the disease, it is not conclusive whether there is causation. Perhaps a third unidentified factor that increases the chances for Alzheimer’s and neuroticism exists, say skeptics of the findings.
“We know genetics drives personality and disease itself, but there’s very little understanding of how personality drives disease,” told Dean Hartley of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Other notable findings of this study were that introversion and extroversion had no influence on memory loss later in life, and that men, while not included in the study, probably would mirror the results women had when examined in these conditions.
While the complexities of Alzheimer’s and dementia often go far beyond us, this research gives us another good reason to stress less.