Alzheimer’s disease: Negative Stereotypes about Aging may increase Risk of Disease

1B--Alzheimer’s disease: Negative Stereotypes about Aging may increase Risk of Disease

Two new studies suggest that people who believe that older people are unhappier, absent-minded and less sharp than others could develop Alzheimer’s disease. The studies have been published in journal Psychology and Aging.

According to the studies, people with negative stereotypes about aging may have brain changes linked to Alzheimer’s. Researchers of the studies examined dementia-free people from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. They found that the volume of the hippocampus in people with negative beliefs about aging declined by approximately three times than subjects who don’t have such stereotypes.

Before the onset of Dementia, the researchers asked participants about their thoughts on aging. The subjects were divided in two groups: first group’s views were taken when individuals were in their early 40s, while the second group’s subject were asked to give views of 28 years before the autopsies, when most participants were in their early 60s.

Becca R. Levy, associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health lead author of the new studies, said increased stress response could be blamed for link between negative views about aging and brain changes.

An earlier study by Levy showed that individuals exposed to negative stenotypes about aging experience increase in heart rate and blood pressure. “Positive age stereotypes, on the other hand, can act as a buffer for stress”, as per Levy. The new report is the first to link negative beliefs on aging and increased Alzheimer's risk.

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