Negative thinking related to dementia in later life, study findings

A new study found that repetitive negative thinking in later life was associated with cognitive decline and greater accumulation of two harmful proteins responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Psychiatrist and senior research assistant at the University of London College of Mental Health. “We suggest that repetitive negative thinking may be a new risk factor for dementia,” Natalie Marchant said. Said.

Over a two-year period, more than 350 people over the age of 55 measured negative thinking behaviors such as rumination about the past and anxiety about the future. About a third of the participants also had PET (positron emission tomography). Brain scan to measure tau and beta amyloid deposits, two proteins that cause Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia.

Scans showed that people who spent more time thinking negatively experienced more tau and beta amyloid accumulation, worse memory, and more cognitive decline over a four-year period than non-pessimistic people.

The study also tested anxiety and depression levels and found more cognitive decline in depressed and anxious people who previously reflected the research.

However, in depressed and anxious people, tau and amyloid deposits have not increased, directing researchers to suspect repeated negative thoughts may be the main reason why depression and anxiety contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.

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“We expect chronic negative thinking models to increase the risk of dementia for a long time, among other studies linking depression and anxiety to the risk of dementia.” Said.

The founder of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic is neurologist Dr. “This is the first study to demonstrate the biological relationship between repetitive negative thinking and Alzheimer’s pathology, and offers doctors a more precise way to assess risk and offer more personalized adapted interventions.” Said. At NYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical Center, not included in the study.

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“Many people at risk are not aware of the direct negative effects of anxiety and rumination on the brain,” Isaacson, the trustee of the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, financed the research to better understand and alleviate age-related cognitive decline. .

“This study is important and will change how I take care of my patients at risk.”

More studies are needed

“It is important to note that this did not say that a short-term negative thinking period will cause Alzheimer’s disease,” said Fiona Carragher, chief policy and research fellow at the Alzheimer’s Association in London. Said. “We need more research to better understand this.”

“Most of the people in the study have already been found to be at risk of Alzheimer’s disease, so we will have to see if these results are echoing in the general population,” said Alzheimer’s disease itself. “

Researchers suggest that mental training practices such as meditation can help improve positive thinking while reducing negative thoughts and are planning to test future studies. their hypothesis.

Co-author of Inserm / Université de Caen-Normandie. “Our thoughts can have a biological effect, which can be positive or negative on our physical health,” said Gael Chételat.

“Taking care of your mental health is important and should be an important public health priority, as it can affect your risk of not only people’s health and well-being in the short term, but also your ultimate dementia.” .

Looking to the bright side

Previous research supports their hypothesis. People who look at life from a positive perspective have a much better shot than pessimistic people in avoiding death from any cardiovascular risk, according to the 2019 study. In fact, the more positive the person, the greater the protection from heart attack, stroke and any cause of death.
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It is not only your heart that is protected from a positive perspective. Previous research has found a direct link between optimism and other positive health features. healthier diet and exercise behaviors, one stronger immune system and better lung functionamong others.
Probably cardiologist Dr. Icahn Medical School on Mount Sinai, who examines the effects of optimism on health, as optimists tend to have better health habits. Alan Rozanski said. They are more likely to exercise, diet better and smoking is less likely.

“Optimists also tend to have better coping skills and are better problem solvers.” “They’re better when we anticipate proactive coping or problems and then proactively take steps to fix them.”

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Train to be optimistic

By answering a series of statements, you can tell where you stand in the full or empty concept of the glasss It is called “life orientation test”.

Daily meditation can slow aging in your brain.

The test says, “I believe in the idea that every cloud has a silver lining” and “If something goes wrong for me, it will happen.” You rate expressions from disagreement rather than disagree, and results can be added to determine your level of optimism or pessimism.

Previous research has shown that “training the brain” may be more optimistic and similar to developing a muscle. Using direct measurements of brain function and structure, a study of 30 minutes of meditation practice daily for two weeks, measurable change in the brain.
One of the most effective ways to increase optimism is meta-analysis of existing studiesis called “The Best Possible Me” method that you dream about or log in yourself in the future when you reach all your life goals and solve all your problems.

Another technique is to apply gratitude. Taking just a few minutes every day to write down what makes you thankful can improve your perspective on life. And while you’re there, list the positive experiences you had that day, which can increase your optimism.

“And finally we know that cognitive behavioral therapies are very effective treatments for depression; pessimism is on the way to depression,” said Rozanski.

“You can apply the same principles we do for depression like re-framing. You teach that there is an alternative way of thinking or re-framing negative thoughts, and you can make great progress with this pessimist.”

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