Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Aug 18, 2011

A Sense of Purpose Reduces Risk of Senile Dementia

Filed under: Brain — admin @ 12:13 am

While we know of many factors that contribute to the mental health of our senior fellows, a study further confirmed another key factor, call it spiritual power. This is the power of a strong sense of purpose in life. A study published in March 2010 in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that people with a greater sense of purpose in life ran low risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those without.

The study involved 951 people from the Rush Memory and Aging Project and was conducted by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The researchers analyzed medical records and life outlook of participants. Their overall sense of purpose in life was measured by assessing their level of agreement with 10 statements derived from a psychological well-being scale, such as, “I have a sense of direction and purpose in life,” or “I feel good when I think of what I have done in the past and what I hope to do in the future.”

After an average of four years of follow-up, 16.3% (155) participants had developed Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers found participants with high scores on the life purpose test were 2.4 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those with low score.

The study finding is helpful and significant because having a sense of purpose in life is something spiritual that we can work on, despite of mother nature’s relentless effect of aging on each one of us.

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