Feeling Old May Up Dementia Risk
If you think of yourself as old, you may be increasing your chance of experiencing cognitive decline. Researchers at the University of Exeter, who presented their findings atthe International Conference on Social Identity and Health on June 12th, report that when seniors see themselves as "older," their performance on a standard dementia screening test makes them five times more likely to meet the criteria for dementia.
The study highlights the significance of our age perceptions and their effect on our mental functioning. According to a release from the university, the research involved 68 people aged between 60 and 70 years. Those in the "older" group were told the participants ranged in age from 40 to 70, which led them to believe they were the top of age brackets. Those in the "younger" group were told that participants' ages ranged from 60 to 90 years, so they thought they were in the lower end of the age scale. The participants then completed a series of standard clinical tests. A full 70 per cent of the participants who were tricked into felling old scored as though they had dementia. Only 14 per cent of "younger" group met the dementia criteria.
The findings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer reviewed journal but in the meantime, it can't hurt to make sure your remain young at heart! Your brain will probably thank you for it.