Being optimistic could prevent dementia, new study suggests

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Being able to manage emotions and change them quickly is beneficial for mental health and is vital to prevent this kind of aging. Photo: Pexels


(Alice Clifford/ Independent UK) — Managing your emotions better could help to slow the ageing process, according to a new study.

Negative emotions, anxiety and depression are thought to promote the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and dementia. Scientists say that is because prolonged negative emotions can modify the brain. Older adults are affected excessively by negative emotions and these effects continue over a long period of time.

Two brain regions, the posterior cingulate cortex and the amygdala, are particularly impacted. These regions are strongly involved in the management of emotions and autobiographical memory. They are also the parts of the brain most affected by dementia.

With these strong and prolonged negative emotions affecting this part of the brain, people can begin to suffer from pathological aging.

Study author Sebastian Baez Lugo, of the University of Geneva, said: ‘‘Our hypothesis is that more anxious people would have no or less capacity for emotional distancing. (…)

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