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Cynicism Kills the Brain, Triples Dementia

Update Date: May 28, 2014 04:11 PM EDT

Cynics are more likely to develop dementia, a new study suggests.

Previous studies revealed that cynical distrust, or believing that others are mainly motivated by selfish concerns, increases the risk of health conditions like heart disease.

However, researchers also believe that cynicism increases the risk of dementia.

"These results add to the evidence that people's view on life and personality may have an impact on their health," study author Anna-Maija Tolppanen, PhD, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, said in a news release. "Understanding how a personality trait like cynicism affects risk for dementia might provide us with important insights on how to reduce risks for dementia."

The latest study involved 1,449 people with an average age of 71. Participants underwent tests for dementia and were asked to fill out questionnaires about their level of cynicism.

Participants were asked to rate how much they agree with statements like  "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."

Researchers then grouped participants based on low, moderate and high levels of cynical distrust.

After accounting for other factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking, the findings revealed that high levels of cynical distrust triples the risk of dementia.

Study results revealed that 14 out of 164 people with high levels of cynicism developed dementia compared to nine of the 212 people with low levels of cynicism.

The findings were published May 28 in the journal Neurology.

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