Most retirement living seniors are concerned about Alzheimer's Disease, but new research suggests that one's personality may have an effect on being diagnosed with the mental illness.
Psychologists at the University of Washington in St.
Louis conducted a study on 79 individuals between the ages of 44 and 88. The team performed MRIs on the volunteers and discovered a noticeable difference in brain matter between people who were considered neurotic and those who were even-tempered.
"There are lots of nonhuman animal studies that suggest that chronic stress is associated with deleterious effects on the brain, and this helped us form the hypothesis that we'd see similar effects in older adults," said Jonathan Jackson, the study's co-author.
However, the researchers also noted that it's the brain changes that may be influencing one's personality, and not the other way around.
"Right now, we can't disentangle those two," said co-author Denise Head.
Alzheimer's Disease remains one of the most serious mental illnesses amongst retirement living seniors. According to the Alzheimer's Association, over five million people are currently battling the illness in the United States.