Stress Tied to Alzheimer's Risk
Worrying about things you can’t control may put you at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life, according to a study published in Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders.
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System in New York looked at data from more than 500 adults 70 and older to examine the connection between chronic stress and what’s known as amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), which is often a precursor of Alzheimer’s.
The study authors gave questionnaires to just over 500 adults, aged 70 and older, asking about how much stress they experience. None of the adults had signs of dementia at the study’s start. The researchers then followed the study participants for more than three years. Each year, they underwent a series of tests related to their daily living, their memory and their ability to think clearly.
Adults who perceived themselves to be under the most stress had a considerably greater risk of early cognitive impairment, according to the study. This risk remained after accounting for the participants’ depression symptoms, age, sex, race, education level and genetic risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers acknowledged that the study showed only an association between stress and aMCI, but not clear evidence that it causes that type of cognitive impairment.
About 5 million people in the U.S. 65 and older had Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number is expected to triple by 2050.’
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