These personality traits may affect your risk of ‘pre-dementia’

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In a new study, researchers found that some common personality traits may affect people’s risk of developing pre-dementia conditions.

The research was conducted by a team at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The team examined five personality traits—neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness—and their links to pre-dementia conditions called motoric cognitive risk (MCR) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) syndromes.

Among 524 adults aged 65 years and older who were followed for a median of 3 years, 38 participants developed MCR, and 69 developed MCI (some with memory loss, or amnestic MCI).

The team found that openness was linked to a 6% reduced risk of developing MCR, whereas neuroticism was linked to a 6% increased risk of non-amnestic MCI.

In non-amnestic MCI, the memory remains intact, but one or more other cognitive abilities—such as language, visual-spatial skills, or executive functioning—are impaired.

None of the personality traits were associated with MCI overall or with amnestic MCI.

The team says while more studies are needed, the results provide evidence that personality traits play an independent role in the risk for or protection against specific pre-dementia syndromes.

From a clinical perspective, these findings emphasize the importance of accounting for aspects of personality when assessing for dementia risk.

The lead author of the study is Emmeline Ayers, MPH, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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