In the current study, 524 adults age 65 years and older were followed for an average of three years. Among them, 38 participants developed MCR and 69 developed MCI, some of which also had memory loss or amnestic MCI.
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A 6% reduced risk of developing MCR was associated with openness, while a 6% increased risk of non-amnestic MCI was associated with neuroticism. Memory remains undamaged in non-amnestic MCI, but one or more other cognitive abilities — such as language, visual-spatial skills, or executive functioning — are damaged.
Overall MCI or amnestic MCI were not found to be linked to any of the personality traits.
“While more studies are needed, our results provide evidence that personality traits play an independent role in the risk for or protection against specific pre-dementia syndromes,” said lead author Emmeline Ayers, MPH, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in a press release. “From a clinical perspective, these findings emphasize the importance of accounting for aspects of personality when assessing for dementia risk.”