Cynicism can enhance the risk of dementia, shows Finnish Study

Cynicism can enhance the risk of dementia, shows Finnish Study

It is quite commonplace to come across people who are distrustful and cynical by nature. While these people abound everywhere, a new research shows they can be more vulnerable to dementia. They can also be more prone to be affected by health conditions like heart disease, said the Finnish researchers. The findings of this study can be found in American Academy of Neurology’s journal.

University of Eastern Finland’s professor, Anna-Maija Tolppanen, who led the study said, "There have been previous studies that showed that people who were cynical were more likely to die earlier and have other poor health outcomes, but no one that we could tell ever looked at dementia. We have seen some studies that show people who are more open and optimistic have a lower risk for dementia, so we thought this was a good question to ask."

Cynicism can be described as deep mistrust in other people and psychologists feel this is an expression of chronic anger intensifying over time. The study authors analysed cynicism involving doubting the genuineness of what others say. Some cynics also believe people around them are driven mostly by self-interest. This research involved more than 1400 people in their old age. They took a dementia test. Another test was carried out to estimate their cynicism level.

It was observed that people with highest level of cynicism face 2.54 times higher risk of developing dementia compared to people with low level of cynicism. Previous studies hinted at a link between early death and cynicism, but this study did not reveal anything like that.

The study does not exactly show negative attitude results in ill health at mature age. While more extensive research is needed before replicating the study's conclusion, there is no denying the fact people with a cynical attitude face more health risks than others. Tolppanen said, this study shows an association between dementia and cynical attitude, but does not establish a cause- effect link. University of Pittsburgh’s assistant professor of medicine Dr. Hilary Tindle agrees with this view.

As a matter of fact, personality and way of thinking affects brain health in various ways. Cynical people may engage their thinking capacity less and socialize sparingly. NYC’s Mount Sinai Hospital’s Dr. Sam Gandy said on the study that it “addresses the issue of whether dementia underlies the development of an outlook characterized by negative, cynical, sometimes paranoid mistrust that can develop in the elderly."