After a successful launch on the pediatric inpatient units, the Journals of Hope Program has expanded into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where patients and families can find strength and hope through the power of writing.
A gene called apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is one of the main genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Not everyone with that gene, however, develops Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia.
Numerous studies have been done to try to determine why some people with ApoE have Alzheimer’s and others escape the condition. While there is no definitive explanation, a recent study suggests that one possible reason lies in how people perceive getting older.
A study published in PLOS One found that among people with the ApoE gene, those who view aging with a positive and optimistic outlook have a lower risk of developing dementia than those with negative beliefs about getting older.
Over four years, researchers questioned more than 4,700 people without dementia over the age of 60 about their attitudes toward aging. Participants filled out questionnaires which included statements such as “The older I get, the more useless I feel,” to which participants could agree or disagree. Results showed that those who had positive attitudes about aging were nearly 50% less likely to develop dementia.
One explanation for this finding is that the stress that comes with negativity can cause actual harm to the brain. Positivity may help protect the brain by reducing the amount of stress-related chemicals in the brain.
Fortunately, boosting your outlook is a modifiable risk factor. Focusing on what you can do as you get older and learning more about the opportunities for older adults in your community may help. Feelings of uselessness or hopelessness can be signs of depression.
If you experience these thoughts and feelings, consult your doctor.
This article originally appeared in Mind, Mood & Memory, a publication of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, dedicated to maintaining mental fitness for middle age and beyond.
- Patient Education
- Jan | 21 | 2021
With recommendations to stay at home this winter to help stop the spread of COVID-19, David Mischoulon, MD, PhD, offers insights on SAD and how to stay well at home this winter.
- Dec | 9 | 2020
Parenting is always a balancing act and raising a child with a chronic illness poses extra challenges. Watch this video to discover ways to prevent, recognize and manage emotional distress that can improve the health of the entire family.
- Dec | 4 | 2020
In this recent presentation, Kristina Skarbinski, MSN, FNP-BC, describes both common and uncommon symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). She then outlines management strategies including lifestyle modifications, types of medicine and surgical options.
- Nov | 24 | 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the delivery of mental health care. In addition, there is increasing evidence of a sudden need for mental and behavioral health care. As a result, there has been a quick expansion of telemental health.
- Nov | 12 | 2020
¿Se siente estresado por la pandemia? Descubra cómo las técnicas de atención plena y estos hábitos saludables para su mente pueden ayudar
En este seminario, Tanzi compartió algunas formas en que los clínicos—y todos los que sufren problemas de salud mental inducidos por la pandemia—pueden practicar la atención plena.