Are Cynical People More Likely to Develop Dementia?

Dr. Anna-Maija Tolppanen PhD Department of Neurology University of Eastern Finland, Interview with:
Dr. Anna-Maija Tolppanen PhD
Department of Neurology
University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio
MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Tolppanen: Persons who had higher levels of cynical distrust were about three times more likely to develop dementia over eight-year follow-up.

MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Tolppanen: Yes and no. We were expecting to see a correlation between cynicism and dementia, but we thought that this would likely be explained by socioeconomic position and cardiovascular risk factors.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Tolppanen: In addition to traditional lifestyle-related risk factors such as blood pressure, smoking etc. our personality and attitudes may also have an impact on brain health.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Tolppanen: As this is the first study showing this connection, it would be important to replicate these findings in other, possibly larger studies. If so, other interesting topics would be whether long-standing cynical attitude is related to worse outcomes than later acquired cynicism and whether the change of attitude to more positive has influence on brain health.


Late-life cynical distrust, risk of incident dementia, and mortality in a population-based cohort

Elisa Neuvonen, Minna Rusanen, MD, PhD, Alina Solomon, MD, PhD, Tiia Ngandu, MD, PhD, Tiina Laatikainen, MD, PhD, Hilkka Soininen, MD, PhD, Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD and Anna-Maija Tolppanen, PhD

Published online before print May 28, 2014, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000528 Neurology10.1212/WNL.0000000000000528

Last Updated on June 2, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD