Study: positive personality traits could offset Alzheimer's

Brain 3-D rendering Photo credit iStock/Getty Images

A new study suggests that even if your brain develops a disease like Alzheimer’s, you may not necessarily register its most devastating effects — depending on your personality.

Other studies have linked personality traits with memory performance. This study is a step beyond, examining people and their cognitive abilities and their personalities in life and then looking at their brains in autopsy.

Lead study author, Eileen Graham of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, says they found some people with cognitive resilience. They functioned well in life, but autopsy showed a diseased brain.

They found some with the opposite: people who functioned poorly in life but whose autopsy showed very little neuro-degeneration.

The difference is in personality traits.

“The way we live our lives, the way we approach our life, is likely contributing to how well our brains age.  So, stay hopeful,” Graham says.

Positive traits are self-discipline and organization. Not-so-positive traits: worry and moodiness.