Willingness to donate money to older people associated with early Alzheimer’s cognitive profile

Summary: The willingness of older people to give more money is associated with cognitive decline associated with mental disorders. Studies may explain why many older people are more likely to be financially exploited.

A source: USC

To help protect older people from financial exploitation, researchers are working to understand who is at greater risk.

New discoveries from the USC Keck Medical School announced this week Journal of Alzheimer’s DiseaseThe willingness to give money suggests that it may be associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sixty-seven elderly people with no dementia or cognitive impairment completed a laboratory task and decided to give money to an anonymous person or keep it for themselves.

They also performed a series of cognitive tests, such as word and story recall. Those who donated more performed worse on cognitive assessment, which was known to be more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our goal is to understand why some older people may be more susceptible to fraud, deception, or financial exploitation than others,” said Duke Han, Ph.D, director of neuropsychology at the Department of Family Medicine, the study’s lead author. Keck is a professor of family medicine, neurology, psychology and gerontology at the School of Medicine.

“Difficulties in working with money are considered one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and this finding supports this notion.”

Previous studies examining the link between altruism and cognition have relied on self-reporting measures, such as the question of whether older people are willing to pay for a particular scenario. This study used real money to check the link.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to address attitudes using the behavioral economics paradigm, which represents a scenario where participants have to make a decision about whether to give or keep current money,” said Gali H. Weisberger, Ph.D., is a senior lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and the first author of the study.

Giving and recognizing

Researchers recruited 67 adults with an average age of 69. They collected data on participants’ demographics and monitored the impact of age, gender, and education level on the final analysis. Participants were excluded from the study if they met the criteria for dementia or cognitive impairment.

In the lab, each participant was told that they were paired with an anonymous person who had completed an online survey. They were then given $ 10 and asked to give more than $ 1 as they wished, and to share it with an anonymous person.

Older people in the study also received several neuropsychological tests used to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages. The tests included story and word memorization tasks, in which participants were required to memorize information after a short period of time; A free test in a category that includes a list of words on a specific topic; and a number of other cognitive assessments.

Participants who gave more received significantly lower scores on neuropsychological tests, which were known to be sensitive at the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. There were no significant differences from other neuropsychological tests.

Clarify the link

More research is needed to confirm the nature of the relationship between financial altruism and cognitive health, including larger and more representative models. Future research may collect behavioral and self-reporting data on financial altruism to better understand participants ’submission motives.

Those who donated more performed worse on cognitive assessment, which was known to be more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. Image in public domain

Khan, Weisberger, and their colleagues are now collecting data for longitudinal research using the same task, which can help determine if some older people are becoming altruistic over time.

“If there is any change in a person’s altruistic behavior, it shows that the changes are also happening in the brain,” Weisberger said.

Clarifying these details about the link between altruism and cognition will ultimately help improve screening for Alzheimer’s disease and protect people and loved ones from financial exploitation. It can also help researchers to identify health problems by identifying key issues.

See also

This shows the neurons

“The last thing we need is for people to think that financial altruism among older people is a bad thing,” Khan said. “It can certainly be a deliberate and positive use of a person’s money.”

Research on Alzheimer’s disease

Author: Zara Abrams
A source: USC
The connection: Zara Abrams – USC
Photo: Image in public domain

Original study: Closed access.
“The increase in financial altruism is related to the neurocognitive profile of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.” Weisberger et al. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease


Increased financial altruism is associated with a neurocognitive profile of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly

Background: Old age is associated with an increase in altruistic behavior, such as charity. However, several studies have examined the cognitive connections of financial altruism in older adults.

Purpose: This study examined the cognitive correlation of financial altruism measured using altruistic selection in a collective sample of older people.

Methods: The sample of older men in this study (N = 67; M age = 69.21, SD = 11.23; M years of education = 15.97, SD = 2.51; 58.2% female; 71.6% non-Hispanic ak) completed a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment. and the altruistic choice paradigm, they decided to split money between themselves and an anonymous person.

Results: In several linear regression analyzes controlled by age, education, and gender, financial altruism was typically negatively associated with cognitive measures at the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, including sensory (including word list learning and memory, story delays, and animal free speech).

A result: The results of this study show a negative link between financial altruism and cognitive functioning in older people on certain measures to be susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. Studies also show a potential link between the risk of financial exploitation and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.

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