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Purpose and direction in life could stave off Alzheimer's

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People who view life with a sense of purpose and who set goals are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or dementia, new research indicates.

To determine sense of purpose, researchers at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, questioned 951 elderly participants on their views of their past and future lives, and whether they felt they had a direction in life. Answers were tabulated and scores were rated on a five-point scale. During the average four-year follow up period, 155 participants developed Alzheimer's. Those who scored in the 90th percentile were 2.4 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's than those in the bottom 10th percentile, according to the report. 

Researchers say the findings could provide new treatment interventions for elderly adults. The report appears in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.


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