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Study: The desire to donate money among the elderly may indicate "early" stages of a disease with no medicine!

To help protect older people from financial exploitation, researchers work to understand who is most at risk.

The results of a new study from the Keck School of Medicine at USC, published this week in the journal Alzheimer's Disease, suggest that willingness to donate money can be linked to the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

At an average age of 69, 67 adults, who did not suffer from dementia or cognitive impairment, underwent a series of cognitive tests and were assessed through a scenario where they had to decide to provide or retain the actual funds of an unknown person.

They also completed a series of cognitive tests, and the results found that those who donated more money performed worse in cognitive assessments known to be sensitive to Alzheimer's disease.

  • Senior author of the study, Dr. Doc Hahn, Professor of Family MedicineNeuroscience
  • Psychology and Gerontology at the Keck School of Medicine, explained
  • "Our goal is to understand why some older people may be more likely than others to be fraudulent
  • robbed and financially exploited. The problem of dealing with funds is believed to be one of the early signs of Alzheimer's disease, and this result supports this idea. "

During the tests, researchers prevented participants from 10 dollars and ordered them to be allocated as they wished, in increases of one dollar, between them and the unknown person.

In the lab, each participant was told that he had been paired with an anonymous person who was completing the study online, and were then awarded $10.

  1. Participants completed a series of neuropsychiatric tests
  2. including several commonly used to help diagnose Alzheimer's disease in its early stages.
  3. The tests included storytelling and word-calling tasks

where participants were asked to recall information after a short delay, a category fluency test that included listing words in a particular subject, and several other cognitive assessments.

Researchers found that participants who gave more money received significantly lower scores in psychiatric neurological tests known to be sensitive to early Alzheimer's disease. There were no statistically significant differences in performance on other neuropsychiatric tests.

Further research is needed to confirm the nature of the relationship between financial altruism and older persons' cognitive health.

Future studies can also collect behavioral data and self-reports on financial altruism to better understand participants' motivations for giving.

Researchers are now collecting data for a long-term study using the same tender function, which can help determine whether some older people become more altruistic over time.

Dr. Ghali H.W. ' Weisberger, lecturer in the interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences at Bar Ilan University in Israel and first author of the study: "If a person is experiencing some kind of change in their altruistic behaviour, this may indicate changes in the brain as well".

Clarifying these details about the link between altruism and cognition may ultimately improve Alzheimer's screening and help people protect their loved ones from financial exploitation.

It can also help researchers distinguish between what constitutes healthy giving behaviour versus something that can indicate underlying problems.

Dr. Hahn explained: "The last thing we want is for people to think that financial altruism among older people is bad. can certainly be a deliberate and positive use of a person's assets ".