Anxiety could speed up Alzheimer's
Living with anxiety may speed up the development of Alzheimer's disease in people who already have mild cognitive impairment (MCI), according to a new study by a team of Canadian researchers.
The research, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, is based on analysis of 376 people with MCI--they had some decline in their memory or thinking skills. The subjects, ranging in age from 55 to 91, were studied over the course of three years. The researchers, through testing, found that people who experienced anxiety also suffered a faster decline in their cognitive functions than those without anxiety in their lives. Specifically, the scientists determined that MCI patients with mild anxiety had a 33 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer's, while those with moderate anxiety had a 78 increased percent risk. People identified as experiencing severe anxiety had a 135 percent increased risk of Alzheimer's onset.
Leaders of the study recommended that doctors with MCI patients screen them for anxiety and help them regulate their anxiety to reduce further risk of dementia.