Older persons who have acquired positive beliefs about old age from their surrounding culture are less likely to develop dementia, a study has found. The research, published in the journal PLOS ONE, examined whether culture-based age beliefs influence the risk of developing dementia among older people, including those who carry the high-risk gene variant.
“We found that positive age beliefs can reduce the risk of one of the most established genetic risk factors of dementia,” said Becca Levy from the Yale University in the US. “This makes a case for implementing a public health campaign against ageism, which is a source of negative age beliefs,” Levy said.
The researchers studied a group of 4,765 people, with an average age of 72 years, who were free of dementia at the start of the study.
The study demonstrated that APOE e4, a high-risk gene variant, carried with positive beliefs about ageing had a 2.7% risk of developing dementia, compared to a 6.1 per cent risk for those with negative beliefs about ageing, over the four-year study duration.