Marie Claire (South Africa) - - BULLETIN -

‘Look on the bright side’ has al­ways been a par­tic­u­larly an­noy­ing piece of ad­vice,usu­ally given by in­suf­fer­ably chip­per peo­ple to those of darker mood.To make mat­ters worse,it now seems that th­ese gleespread­ers have a point. Fin­nish re­searcher Anna-Maija Tolp­pa­nen seems to have dis­cov­ered a link be­tween the on­set of de­men­tia and peo­ple with par­tic­u­larly cyn­i­cally dis­trust­ful tem­per­a­ments. In fact, her re­search sug­gests that de­men­tia could be almost three times more likely for the great­est scowlers among us.

Sub­jects – com­pris­ing, ini­tially, 1 449 el­derly Finns – were asked their level of agree­ment with a se­ries of state­ments to de­ter­mine the depths of their dis­trust for their fel­low man. For in­stance:‘I think most peo­ple would like to get ahead,’‘Most peo­ple make friends be­cause friends are likely to be use­ful to them,’ ‘It is safer to trust no­body,’ and ‘Most peo­ple will use some­what un­fair rea­sons to gain profit or an ad­van­tage rather than lose it.’ (You can de­cide for your­self how you’d fare: peo­ple were grouped as low- , mod­er­ate- and high-level cyn­ics).They were also tested for de­men­tia.

Fol­low­ing up on the re­spon­dents over eight years, and after ad­just­ing for other known causes of de­men­tia (in­clud­ing smoking), re­searchers found that re­spon­dents who de­vel­oped de­men­tia were most likely to have come from the most cyn­i­cal camp.‘It’s dif­fi­cult to say what the ex­act rea­sons are but we could as­sume that an at­ti­tude of dis­trust may in­flu­ence a per­son’s life­style and so­cial net­works,’ Tolp­pa­nen told The In­de­pen­dent. ‘We don’t say it’s a causal fac­tor, we just say it in­creases the risk.’ Cyn­ics, con­tacted for com­ment, sounded un­sur­prised by the find­ings.‘Typ­i­cal,’ one mut­tered.

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