Cynical? You May Wind Up With Dementia

I really wish my husband would read this.  But he never reads anything I write, afraid I'll mention him in it.

But this time, it would be helpful.  A new study has found that cynicism can harm your brain.  Really.

According to, people with high levels of cynical distrust may be more likely to develop dementia.

Now, my husband's, like most of us, had plenty of reason to develop cynicism about the world.  He's  in a business where patients make an appointment to see you, don't show up, and then try not to pay you.  As I've mentioned before, he's a dentist.

This new study discovered that cynical distrust, defined as the belief that others are mainly motivated by selfish concerns, has been associated with other health problems, such as heart disease. But this is the first study to look at the relationship between cynicism and dementia, the Web site reports.

 "These results add to the evidence that people’s view on life and personality may have an impact on their health,” newswise quotes study author Anna-Maija Tolppanen, PhD, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio.

People at an average age of 71 were asked how much they agree with statements such as “I think most people would lie to get ahead,” “It is safer to trust nobody” and “Most people will use somewhat unfair reasons to gain profit or an advantage rather than lose it.” Based on their scores, participants were grouped in low, moderate and high levels of cynical distrust.

Those who completed the questionnaire were also given two tests on dementia, one, right after the study, and another, eight years later.  People with high levels of cynical distrust were three times more likely to develop dementia than people with low levels of cynicism. Of the 164 people with high levels of cynicism, 14 people developed dementia, compared to nine of the 212 people with low levels of cynicism, the Web site points out.

But this wasn't the worst thing that can happen to cynical people, scientists originally thought.  The study also looked at whether people with high levels of cynicism were more likely to die sooner than people with low levels of cynicism. High cynicism was initially associated with earlier death, but after researchers accounted for factors such as socioeconomic status, behaviors such as smoking and health status, there was no longer any link between cynicism and earlier death.

So, lighten up, Larry.  I mean, everyone.


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