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Ten minutes of self-reflection may cut risk of Alzheimer's, says study

Ten minutes of self-reflection a day can cut your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, study suggests

  • A new study found that taking just 10 minutes to reflect can improve cognition
  • Experts say findings could help reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s in future 
  • Those who self-reflected had better problem-solving abilities and memory

Older people who regularly evaluate their thoughts, feelings and behaviour may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study.

Just ten minutes of self-reflection every day could lead to significantly better cognition and brain health, researchers found.

While there is currently no cure for dementia, experts say that the findings could pave the way to one day reducing the risk of developing the condition through psychological treatment.

A team led by University College London researchers analysed data from two clinical trials that involved 259 people around the age of 70.

Participants answered questions about reflection, measuring how often they think and try to understand their thoughts and feelings.

A new study found that 10 minutes a day of self-reflection helps improve cognition, memory and better brain health overall, which may help reduce the risk of dementia

By taking the time to self-reflect older people may make themselves less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, researchers say

The results, published in the journal Neurology, revealed people who engaged more in self-reflection had better memory, concentration and problem-solving abilities, as well as better brain health. Lead author Harriet Demnitz-King said: ‘There is a growing body of evidence finding that positive psychological factors, such as purpose in life and conscientiousness, may reduce the risk of dementia.

‘Anyone can engage in self-reflection and potentially increase how much they self-reflect, as it is not dependent on physical health or socioeconomic factors.’

Researchers said it is not clear why self-reflection may provide protective effects. However, it could be linked to feeling calmer and reducing stress levels in the body, or it could improve mental health.

They suggest setting aside some time each day to reflect on work, relationships and social encounters – kindly and without judgment – could reduce the risk of dementia.

Dr Richard Oakley, associate director of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘If self-reflection does seem to have a positive effect on brain function, there’s a chance one day we could reduce the risk of dementia with psychological treatments that help people build healthy thought patterns.’

The number of people living with dementia in the UK is set to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.

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