Five personality traits have been linked to the risk of pre-dementia syndromes

In a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, scientists studied five personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness - and linked them to the development of conditions prior to dementia - motoric cognitive risk (MCR) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The participants were 524 people aged 65 years and over. During three years of observation, 38 patients developed the first syndrome and 69 patients developed the second syndrome (and some with memory loss - the so-called amnestic mild cognitive impairment syndrome).

Calculations have shown that this personality trait, such as openness, was associated with reduced risk of motor-cognitive impairment syndrome (usually manifested in gait changes), while neuroticism, in contrast, increased the risk of non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment syndrome - with this form of memory remains intact, but other cognitive abilities related to language, visual and spatial skills or executive function may be impaired.

This association has remained significant even after risk factors such as lifestyle or mood have been taken into account. None of the personality traits were associated with the development of mild cognitive impairment in general or with its variant, amnestic syndrome.

Although more research is needed, the authors note, the results show that personality traits can affect the risk of conditions prior to dementia - it is important to consider this in clinical practice.

June 3, 2020, 2:15 p.m.

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