What causes dementia in its various manifestations? Is it environmental, or perhaps genetic? Can unhealthy behaviour contribute? Some studies suggest that excessive alcohol consumption may be a factor for some.
How about a persistently cynical outlook on life?
Highly cynical people are more likely to develop dementia, according to a new study out of Finland and published in next month’s Neurology journal.People who self-report high levels of cynical distrust are three times more likely to develop dementia, according to the study. They were also found to have unhealthier lives and less education.
I have read this in several news sources, this excerpt from the Toronto Star. I wonder if this is one of the studies that will soon be discredited, but the outcome works for me. Now, some of the most positive, generous people I have known through the years have fallen victim to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. But I have watched those who are very cynical, including my own father, descend into thought patterns which impair their cognitive functioning. They seem to lose touch with the benchmarks of reality, to the detriment of their relationships and personal peace and wellbeing.
What might be the antidote, if there can one? How about joining with others to create a positive sense of self and to develop trust of the common good? Maybe creating regular times to affirm the existence of a God who loves us and desires our highest good?
We could call this church! Granted, some churches foster cynicism and distrust. My general experience though is that Christian community positively reinforces looking outward, as well as trusting others and God.
This morning at Bridge St. we will welcome new members and praise God and live beyond cynicism, as best we can. I imagine something like this will happen in all your churches.