Cynical people are more likely to develop dementia, researchers say

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Cynical people tend to die younger and are nearly three times more likely than others to develop dementia, according to newly published research findings.

Researchers at University of Eastern Finland said they focused on a specific kind of cynicism that involves “doubting the truth of what people say and believing most people are motivated by self-interest rather than by what is best for the community.” They tested people's cynicism by asking them questions, such as about people's tendency to lie. The study involved about 1,500 people with an average age of 71.

The study concludes that “higher cynical distrust in late life was associated with higher mortality, but this association was explained by socioeconomic position, lifestyle, and health status.” The presence of confounding factors supported the link between cynical distrust and dementia.

“Late-life cynical distrust, risk of incident dementia, and mortality,” appears in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

It's long been believed that prolonged stress, heart disease and other health problems are inextricably linked, and this is not the first time that a personality trait has been associated with medical outcomes. For instance, meeting the definition for a neurotic personality increases seniors' odds of spending time in a nursing home, according to recent research.

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