Hard-core cynics won't believe a word of it, but Finnish researchers think they're more likely to suffer from dementia late in life. Three times more likely, in fact, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The researchers surveyed senior citizens to gauge their level of cynicism, asking them, for example, whether they thought most people would lie to get ahead. Researchers checked back eight years later and found that those who had the highest level of cynicism were more likely to have dementia. (Of the 164 toughest cynics, 14 developed dementia, compared with nine of 212 with low levels of cynicism and 13 of 246 with moderate levels.)
"The findings of this study propose that psychosocial and behavioral risk factors may be modifiable targets for prevention of dementia," say the researchers, as per MedScape. "It may thus be possible to improve life quality by attempting to change people's attitudes to a more positive direction." Researchers aren't saying that cynicism causes dementia, only that there's an association, notes HealthDay News. The study's author theorizes that cynics might be less likely to be socially active, and that in turn could increase their risk.