summary: Older people with mild cognitive impairment who hold positive beliefs about aging are 30% more likely to restore normal cognitive function than those who are more pessimistic.
A study conducted by the Yale School of Public Health found that older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a common type of amnesia, were 30% more likely to regain normal cognition if they took positive beliefs about aging from their culture, compared to those who took negative.
The researchers also found that these positive beliefs also enabled the participants to regain their cognition two years earlier than those with negative age beliefs. This cognitive recovery feature was found regardless of baseline MCI severity.
“Most people assume there is no recovery from MCI, but in fact, half of those with MCI do. Not much is known about why some recover while others don’t,” said Becca Levy, professor of public health and psychology and lead author of the study. “That’s why we looked at positive tooth beliefs, to see if they would help provide an answer.”
Levy predicted that positive age beliefs could play an important role in cognitive recovery because her previous experimental studies with older adults found that positive age beliefs reduce stress from cognitive challenges, increase self-confidence about perception, and improve cognitive performance.
The new study is the first to find evidence that a culture-based factor — positive beliefs for age — contributes to recovery from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The study appeared in JAMA Network is open. Martin Slade, a biostatistician and lecturer in internal medicine at Yale University, is a co-author of the study.
Older adults in the positive age beliefs group who began the study with normal cognition were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment over the next 12 years than those in the negative age beliefs group, regardless of their baseline age and physical health.
The National Institute on Aging funded this study. It had 1,716 participants ages 65 and older who were drawn from the Health and Retirement Study, a national longitudinal study.
Our previous research showed that age beliefs can be modified; therefore, interventions related to age and beliefs at both the individual and societal levels can increase the number of people experiencing cognitive recovery.
About this memory and aging research news
author: Gene Ed
communication: Jane Ed – Yale
picture: The image is in the public domain
original search; open access.
“The role of positive age beliefs in recovery from mild cognitive impairment among older adults,” by Becca Levy et al. JAMA Network is open
The role of positive age beliefs in recovery from mild cognitive impairment in the elderly
It is widely assumed that individuals who develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) will not recover. However, approximately half of older adults with mild cognitive impairment regain normal cognition.
The reason for this improvement is not well understood. This study is the first, to our knowledge, to look at whether a culture-based factor—positive age beliefs—contributes to MCI recovery.
In previous experimental studies with older adults, age-positive beliefs reduced stress from cognitive challenges, increased self-confidence about cognition, and improved cognitive performance.
We therefore hypothesized that older adults with positive age beliefs would be more likely to recover from MCI and would do so sooner compared to individuals with negative age beliefs.