Medical Minute: Attitude About Getting Old

ABC News
Updated: February 16, 2018 02:46 PM

Can how you feel about getting old affect how you get old? ABC's Kenneth Moton has more in this ABC News Medical Minute.

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The fear of developing dementia in our later years is common. After all, dementia affects 46.8 million people worldwide.

Can the way you look at aging help lower your risk for dementia? New research shows a surprising link between thinking positively about aging and a lower dementia risk.

Researchers at Yale announced that seniors who have a positive attitude about growing old also showed a 43% reduction in their risk of dementia, compared to others who think less favorably about their older years.

Researchers looked at 4,700 seniors over the age of 60. Those who responded to statements about old age with a positive attitude had about half the normal risk of developing dementia over a 4 year period.

Even seniors who carry a gene, known as A-POE E4, predisposing them to dementia had a much lower risk if they had an upbeat outlook.

Of course, this study can only show that positive thinking is somehow associated with a reduced risk of dementia. We cannot say for sure that optimism about aging actually prevents the disease.

But it might be a reason for a little attitude adjustment about your future.


ABC News

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