Personality Traits Connected to Characteristics of Alzheimer’s Disease
Florida State University College of Medicine found that changes in the brain caused by Alzheimer’s disease usually can be seen at an early stage in people with personality traits related to this condition. The study targeted two characteristics that in the past were associated with the risk of dementia. The first trait, neuroticism, measures the tendency for negative emotions. The second trait, conscientiousness, measures the tendency to be cautious, aim-oriented, organized, and trustworthy.
The conclusions merge data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) and earlier work in a meta-analysis that included 12 studies on Alzheimer’s neuropathology and personality. More than 3,000 individuals participated in the combined studies.
The research team discovered more amyloid and tau deposits in people with a low score in conscientiousness and a high score in neuroticism. The researchers also found that the associations in studies that included cognitively normal individuals are stronger than studies involving individuals with cognitive difficulties.
The results indicate that personality might be helpful in the protection against Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders. It can delay or stop the emergence of neuropathology for people who have a high score in conscientiousness and a low score in neuroticism.
BLSA is a clinical research program in human aging that began in Baltimore in 1958. The research measured personality using a five-factor personality test. All people who took part in the BLSA neuroimaging sub-study didn’t have dementia or other severe health conditions. To complete this research, the team used the advances in brain scan technology to examine amyloid and tau neuropathology in a living organism.
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