Having greater purpose in life associated with reduced Alzheimer's risk

March, 2010
  • Data from a large long-running study has found that greater purpose in life was associated with a substantially reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, as well as a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment and a slower rate of cognitive decline.

Data from over 900 community-dwelling older adults participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project has found that greater purpose in life was associated with a substantially reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, as well as a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment and a slower rate of cognitive decline. Specifically, those scoring in the top 10% of a purpose in life measure (4.2 out of 5) were approximately 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer's disease than individuals in the bottom 10% (score of 3.0). The association was independent of sociodemographic status, depression, neuroticism, social network size, and number of chronic health conditions.

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