EndNotes

Find a purpose, keep your brain

Provost Warwick Bayly presents legendary comedian and actress Betty White a ceremonial white doctor's coat Oct. 8, 2011, in Yakima, Wash., as White was made an honorary alumna of WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine. (Washington State University)
Provost Warwick Bayly presents legendary comedian and actress Betty White a ceremonial white doctor's coat Oct. 8, 2011, in Yakima, Wash., as White was made an honorary alumna of WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine. (Washington State University)

If you have a purpose in life, you might not lose your memories.

HealthDayNews released a story today about a study that looked at how having a strong purpose in life can keep your brain strong.

"Somehow, having a purpose allows people to cope with the physical signs of Alzheimer's disease," said Patricia Boyle, an associate professor at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Among those who had a lot of brain gunk -- known as plaques and tangles -- the ones who had greater purpose in life appeared to be less affected by a decline in their mental (or "cognitive") powers. "The rate of cognitive decline was about 30 percent slower for someone with greater purpose in life, compared to someone with less purpose," Boyle said.

(The researchers defined a purpose in life as the "tendency to find meaning from life experience, to be intentional and focused," Boyle said. "It's an indicator of well-being, that life is good and you are contributing to your life, you're making decisions.")

What older folks did you know who retained a sense of purpose late into life?

(S-R archive photo of Betty White, a 90-year-old actress filled with life)




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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.





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