Brain Health

Eliminate The Negative And Heal Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Eliminate The Negative And Heal Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) about undefined
For some people the thought of getting older fills them with a sense of dread. They’re worried about experiencing illness or loneliness. While others welcome the end of their working life and celebrate the newfound freedom to engage in hobbies, travel, and new adventures. The attitude you have about aging and the approach you choose is important. The latest research shows your attitude toward aging has a profound influence on the health of your brain and the clarity of your memory. In fact, if you already have memory problems, seeing aging in a positive light will increase your chance of making a full recovery. In a scientific first, a new study provides evidence that positive beliefs surrounding aging contribute to recovery from mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Attitude Trumps Blood Pressure, Smoking

The study was led by Professor Becca Levy of Yale University, whose longstanding work in this field has been featured in our sister publication Aging Defeated. In that article she was quoted as saying: “Positive age beliefs are better for you than low blood pressure or even giving up smoking. “In study after study I conducted, I found that older people with more positive perceptions of aging perform better physically and cognitively than those with more negative perceptions of aging. They are more likely to recover from severe disability, they remember better, they walk faster, and they live longer.” Her latest study reinforces these earlier findings.

Positive Attitude Boosts Restoration Of Normal Cognition

The study included 1,716 men and women aged 65 or older who were either cognitively healthy or had MCI. Dr. Levy’s team asked them questions regarding their aging beliefs, such as whether they disagree with the phrase, “The older I get, the more useless I feel.” Other questions included whether things get worse as you get older, whether you have as much pep as you did last year, and whether you’re as happy now as you were when you were younger. The researchers categorized them based on their answers as having either positive or negative age beliefs. Next, researchers tracked them every two years from 2008 to 2020 during which time they performed cognitive tests. After taking multiple factors into account that affect the health of the brain, the results showed that participants with MCI at the start of the study were significantly more likely to experience cognitive recovery if they had positive age beliefs at that time.

30 Percent Greater Chance Of Making Full Recovery

The positive age-belief group had a 30.2 percent greater likelihood of making a full recovery back to normal cognition than the negative age-belief group. What’s more, this recovery advantage persisted regardless of the degree of MCI severity. Participants with positive age beliefs also had a faster transition from MCI to normal cognition. In addition, among participants with normal cognition when the study began, those with positive age beliefs were significantly less likely to develop MCI over the following 12 years compared to those with negative age beliefs.

Pessimists Can Change

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Levy said: “Most people assume there is no recovery from MCI, but in fact half of those who have it do recover. Little is known about why some recover while others don’t. That’s why we looked at positive age beliefs, to see if they would help provide an answer. “I think the hopeful message of this study is that those who had taken in more positive age beliefs from their society were significantly more likely to show cognitive recovery. This suggests that efforts to reduce ageism on a societal level and to promote positive age beliefs on a societal and individual level could have cognitive benefits.”

Our Takeaway

Although the mechanism behind the effect wasn’t addressed in the study, previous research suggests positive age beliefs reduce stress caused by cognitive challenges, increase self-confidence about cognition, and improve cognitive performance. Dr. Levy’s earlier work shows that age beliefs can be modified. So, if you find yourself in the negative category, all is not lost. For help, she authored a book called Breaking The Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long And Well You Live, which was published in 2022. Best Regards, The Awakening From Alzheimer’s Team recover-memory health-and-happiness-bb144d451f15

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