People who are open to experience have a lower risk of developing dementia, research finds.
People who are open to experience are more likely to be imaginative, sensitive to their feelings, intellectually curious and seekers of variety.
Openness to experience is one of the five major aspects of personality.
Being more open to experience may encourage people to keep their mind active, which is a protective factor against dementia.
People with higher openness to experience also tend to have higher levels of education, which also reduces dementia risk.
The second personality trait linked to dementia in the new study was neuroticism.
Being neurotic increased the risk of developing dementia by 6 percent, the researchers found.
The major personality trait of neuroticism involves a tendency towards worry and moodiness.
People who are neurotic are more likely to experience negative emotions like depression, anxiety, guilt and envy.
Other studies have found that being neurotic may double the risk of developing dementia later in life.
Neurotic people are particularly sensitive to chronic stress.
Personality, though, is not destiny, when it comes to dementia — good brain health is about nature and nurture.
Many factors can reduce the risk of developing dementia such as a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating properly and getting enough exercise.
Indeed, making four out of five critical lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 percent.
Keeping the mind active is thought to be important for reducing the risk of dementia.
Learning new activities, travel and deepening social relationships may all be beneficial.
The present study included 524 people who were given tests of personality and symptoms of pre-dementia.
Ms Emmeline Ayers, the study’s first author, explained:
“While more studies are needed, our results provide evidence that personality traits play an independent role in the risk for or protection against specific pre-dementia syndromes.
From a clinical perspective, these findings emphasize the importance of accounting for aspects of personality when assessing for dementia risk.”
The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society ,Ayers et al., 2020,