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Positive Thinking Restores Memory

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Feeling positive about life as you get older can reverse a common type of memory loss, according to a new study from Yale University (US). Many older people experience a relatively minor loss of memory called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Some of them regain their normal cognition, while others continue to have these memory lapses. According to Professor Becca Levy, lead author of the study: “Most people assume there is no recovery from MCI, but in fact half of those who have it do recover. Little is known about why some recover while others don’t. That’s why we looked at positive age beliefs, to see if they would help provide an answer.” 

The research was based on 1,716 participants over the age of 65. All of them started the study with normal cognition and were periodically tested over a 12 year period. Those with a happy attitude toward life were less likely to develop MCI than the ones who had negative thinking. For the ones that did get MCI, the positive thinkers were 30% more likely to regain normal cognition, and they recovered their cognition up to two years earlier than the others. 

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