Purpose in Life Reduces Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease
by Shirley Archer, JD, MA
Having a sense of purpose in life—a tendency to derive meaning from life’s experiences and have a sense of direction or intention—may not only help you achieve goals but also contribute to keeping your brain healthy.
Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago studied data from 246 participants in the Rush Memory and Aging Project and found that higher levels of purpose in life reduced the effect of Alzheimer’s disease on cognitive decline.
Lead study author Patricia A. Boyle, PhD, from Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center, said, “Our study showed that people who reported greater purpose in life exhibited better cognition than those with less purpose in life even as plaques and tangles accumulated in their brains. These findings suggest that purpose in life protects against the harmful effects of plaques and tangles on memory and other thinking abilities. This is encouraging and suggests that engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities promotes cognitive health in old age.”
Results were reported in Archives of General Psychiatry (2012; 69 , 499–504).
Fitness Journal, Volume 9, Issue 10
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