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Dec 08, 2015 10:45 AM EST

Negative thoughts linked with Alzheimer's disease

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A new study by researchers from Yale's School of Public Health says that people who have negative perceptions are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease later in life than those who do not harbor negative thoughts, Tech Times reports.

For the study, the researchers studied the brain autopsies of dementia-free individuals who took part in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), with the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The study revealed that participants who had negative notions on aging, such as loss of memory and absent-mindedness, had a higher risk of developing brain changes that are associated with Alzheimer's disease.

The team found that the participants' hippocampus, which is the part of the brain associated with memory, shrank by as much as three times compared to its normal volume.

Prof. Becca Levy, one of the researchers involved in the study, said that stress levels could cause the shrinkage. She said that stress was a known cause for the development of Alzheimer's disease.

"The positive message here is that our thinking about aging is modifiable," Levy said, according to Healthday.

"It can be changed. So if we can reduce ageism, and promote more-positive views on getting older, it could perhaps be one way to reduce Alzheimer's risk."

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