Personality in Midlife May Predict Alzheimer's Risk Later
the MPR take:
For women, neuroticism in midlife may be linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s dementia (AD), with distress as a mediator in this association. Published in the journal Neurology, a population-based sample of 800 women ages 38–54 were assessed in 1968 and subsequently in 1974, 1980, 1992, 2000, and 2005 using the Eysenck Personality Inventory to measure the personality dimensions neuroticism-stability (emotional reactivity, anxiety and psychosomatic concerns, ego-strength, and guilt proneness) and extraversion-introversion (sociability and positive affect). Self-reported distress was also included in the questioning each year. Higher scores of neuroticism were associated with increased risk of AD (multi-adjusted HR per point increase in score: 1.04, 95% CI 1.00–1.08, p=0.046), but not with all-type dementias or vascular dementia. The increased risk was similar in those with both early and late-onset AD. For those in the highest quartile of neuroticism scores, the risk of AD was 2-fold higher vs. the lowest quartile (HR 1.99, 95% CI 1.00–4.00, p=0.050); the second and third quartiles had no significant association. However, the neuroticism-AD link lessened after adjusting for long-standing distress, which the authors believe suggests that an individual may be more vulnerable to stressors and distress with neuroticism, increasing the risk of AD later in life. If neuroticism can be modified by medical treatment or interventions in midlife, this may help to reduce the risk of AD later in life.
Objective: To study the association between midlife neuroticism and extraversion and development of late-life dementia and long-standing distress in a sample of women followed for 38 years. Methods: A population-based sample of 800 women, aged 38–54 years, was examined in 1968, with subsequent examinations in 1974, 1980, 1992, 2000, and 2005.
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