Persistently engaging in negative thinking patterns may raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, finds a new UCL-led study. In the study of people aged over 55, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, researchers found ‘repetitive negative thinking’ (RNT) is linked to subsequent cognitive decline as well as the deposition of harmful brain proteins linked to Alzheimer’s. The researchers say RNT should now be further investigated as a potential risk factor for dementia, and psychological tools, such as mindfulness or meditation, should be studied to see if these could reduce dementia risk.
Their cognitive function was assessed, measuring memory, attention, spatial cognition, and language. Some (113) of the participants also underwent PET brain scans, measuring deposits of tau and amyloid, two proteins which cause the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, when they build up in the brain.