Negative Thoughts May Contribute to Dementia, Scientists Warn

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New research has shown that key signs of dementia are connected to repetitive negative thinking. Published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the research may help provide new therapies for Alzheimer’s and other dementia.





According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dementia is a term that represents a variety of diseases characterized by cognitive decline. The symptoms of different types of dementia vary, depending on the parts of the brain that are affected.


The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is affecting millions of people in the US. Sadly, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease currently.



Repetitive Negative Thoughts


Repetitive negative thinking (RNT) is the process of rumination, during which you constantly think about your past and worry about the future. 

Previous research has suggested that some psychological factors, e.g. depression and anxiety, may be related to Alzheimer’s disease. The authors of the study tried to figure out the relationship between RNT and the key signs of Alzheimer’s disease. 





In the study, the researchers divided 360 participants into two groups. The first group contained participants from the Pre‐symptomatic Evaluation of Experimental or Novel Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease (PREVENT-AD) research, while people in the second group were from the Multi‐Modal Neuroimaging in Alzheimer’s Disease (IMAP+) study.


The researchers measured the participants’ RNT, depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline levels for up to 4 years. They also measured the levels of tau and amyloid proteins, something you can find in nerve cells, in the brains of 113 participants.



RNT and Alzheimer’s


It was found that the greater someone’s RNT level is, the more rapid their cognitive abilities decrease. Meanwhile, these people tend to have significant deposits of tau and amyloid proteins.


According to the lead author of the study Dr. Natalie Marchant of University College London, United Kingdom, “depression and anxiety in mid-life and old age are already known to be risk factors for dementia. Here, we found that certain thinking patterns implicated in depression and anxiety could be an underlying reason why people with those disorders are more likely to develop dementia. We hope that our findings could be used to develop strategies to lower people’s risk of dementia by helping them to reduce their negative thinking patterns.”



The study, despite some limitations like the unclear relationship between RNT and key signs of Alzheimer’s, provides a direction for future studies in the cause of dementia.


As for the inspiration the study offers to ordinary people like us? We’ve always been told to keep optimistic, now there’s a new reason why we should stick to positive thoughts.

1 Answer

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WELL.... YEAH you think?! Those who are thankfully in tune, already know our brain is ONLY EVERYTHING. It's the strongest thing we ALL have. It makes us or breaks us, depending on one's outlook. My mother in law willed dementia on herself. She insisted to dwell on how much she didn't want it & voiced this continually aloud EVERYDAY, sending this message out to the universe. A self fulfilled prophecy & even NOW that she's entered into approximately stage 6 of the 7 stages, she STILL worries excessively about any & everything. This woman is waited on hand & foot. EVERYTHING is done for her yet, she still insists on severe anxiety & being ruled by negativity & expressing NEGATIVITY constantly. Sadly, she blatantly is the MOST MISERABLE & dreadful person in the WORLD & she definately brings tremendous truth to this article.
My aunt has the similar case with your mother in law. After the sudden death of her husband, she kept worrying about the health of the rest of her family and the future of her teenage son. She also buried her mind in the regrets and the hatred towards the God. She couldn’t get over her sorrows. These negative thoughts captured her mind day and night. Every conscious time is a torment. Finally, she developed dementia. We cannot reverse the time or the reality, but we can learn from that. Once our friends or families are troubled by negative thoughts, we pay careful attention to them, comfort them and take them to the psychologist if necessary. Even if it’s the least likely to avoid dementia, we shall try it.