Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fretful and friendless raises risk of dementia

Just untangling the conclusions of this Swedish study was a brain workout in its own right, a downright 'how much wood would a woodchuck chuck..." sort of puzzle:

Neither high neuroticism nor low extraversion alone was related to significantly higher incidence of dementia. However, among people with an inactive or socially isolated lifestyle, low neuroticism was associated with a decreased dementia risk (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.27-0.96). When compared to persons with high neuroticism and high extraversion, a decreased risk of dementia was detected in individuals with low neuroticism and high extraversion (HR = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.28-0.94), but not among persons with low neuroticism and low extraversion (HR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.57-1.60), nor high neuroticism and low extraversion (HR = 0.97 95% CI = 0.57-1.65).(1)

Got it? So do we fret and socialize, stay home and calmly knit, or placidly go out drinking with our buddies? Don't freak out while you discuss this conundrum with your friends because, as you will see once you sort out the various possibilities here, being a Buddha of a buddy is your best bet for the brightest brain.
Wang, HX, et al.
Personality and lifestyle in relation to dementia incidence. Neurology. 2009 Jan 20;72(3):253-9.


Ruth said...

Hmmm...I wonder if cyber friends count? I have plenty of flesh and blood friends, but so many people rely on social networks these days.

Mauigirl said...

Hmmm. Mom is 90 and has low extraversion and low neuroticism. Aunt is 88 and has high neuroticism and low extraversion (she used to have tons of friends but most have moved away or died so it's low now but not out of choice). Neither has Alzheimer's. Wonder how they fit in.

Dr S. said...

Honestly...I think I'll quite welcome my demented years...