The Archives of General Psychology published an article in their May issue entitled “Effect of Purpose in Life on the Relation Between Alzheimer Disease (AD) Pathologic Changes on Cognitive Function in Advanced Age.”
OK. Long title. But the short of it – research study participants who reported higher levels of purpose in life exhibited better cognitive function despite the burden of having Alzheimer’s Disease.
Interesting. I do a keynote I presumptuously call “The Meaning of Life” and I cover eight points about living a quality of life that I have learned from our elders. Particularly elders in nursing homes, which most of society associates with a place to die, exhibit this characteristic.
Researchers essentially wanted to see if purpose in life reduces the harmful effects of pathologic changes in cognition in advanced age.
Two hundred forty-six community-based older persons from the Rush Memory and Aging Project participated. Purpose in life was assessed via structured interview, and cognitive function was evaluated annually and close to death. Post-mortem examinations were also performed on the brain.
Purpose in life reduced the association of tangles with cognition. The tangles and plaques associated with the disease, in other words, did not impact cognition as much as it did for those who did not have purpose.
In fact researchers said that purpose had a protective effect and higher levels of purpose in life reduced the effect of pathologic changes on cognitive decline.