Study finds cynical people at higher risk of dementia

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Are you cynical? There’s a new study out that says people that are have a higher risk of developing dementia.

A group in Finland asked: What does it mean to be cynical, and how would you know how cynical you are? Their report appears in the Journal Neurology. They studied 622 people who averaged just over 71-years-old at the beginning of the study and followed them for more than eight years.

Their level of cynicism was assessed by how much they agreed with statements like these:

  • Do you think most people would lie to get ahead?
  • Do you think most people are honest chiefly because they fear being caught?
  • Do most people inwardly dislike putting themselves out to help others?
  • Do you think it’s safer to trust nobody?

After the scores were calculated, they were adjusted to account for other factors linked to dementia, such as age, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, education level, and socioeconomic status.

After those were factored out, the people who were most cynical had two and a half times higher risk of developing dementia during the study period compared with those who had the lowest cynicism scores.

There have been other studies showing the influence of depression and personality traits on dementia, but this is the first to consider cynical distrust as a possible risk factor.

The authors concluded that both psychosocial and lifestyle-related risk factors may be modifiable targets for intervention. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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