Excerpt from YaleNews December 7, 2015
Newly published research led by the Yale School of Public Health demonstrates that individuals who hold negative beliefs about aging are more likely to have brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease.
The study led by Becca Levy, associate professor of public health and of psychology, is the first to link the brain changes related to Alzheimer's disease to a cultural-based psychosocial risk factor. The findings were published online Dec. 7 in the journal Psychology and Aging.
"We believe it is the stress generated by the negative beliefs about aging that individuals sometimes internalize from society that can result in pathological brain changes," said Levy. "Although the findings are concerning, it is encouraging to realize that these negative beliefs about aging can be mitigated and positive beliefs about aging can be reinforced, so that the adverse impact is not inevitable."