(Mirror Daily, United States) – Would you describe your job as extremely stressful? According to a new study, stress can be one of the leading triggers for dementia later in life, which means you’re putting yourself at a great risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found stress to be a possible cause of mild cognitive impairment that has a later onset among older adults. In turn, MCI can often preface a full-blown case of Alzheimer’s disease.
In the study, participants who reported to be highly stressed faced doubled odds of being affected by cognitive impairment, compared to those subjects who said were free from stress. Since stress is very much treatable, the results further indicate that diagnosing and treating it could help delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s in older people.
Richard Lipton, M.D. at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, is the lead author of the research published in the online version of Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders. He found evidence that stress could be responsible for an increased likelihood of MCI in elderly people.
Roughly 470,000 Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s each year, and many of these patients had initially experienced mild cognitive impairment – a condition known to significantly increase the risk of developing with Alzheimer’s in the following years. The current study focused on the potential relationship between chronic stress and “amnestic mild cognitive impairment.”
The first sign of onset in the case of this condition is memory loss, and researchers revealed they found strong evidence that “perceived stress significantly enhances the chances of an elderly person developing a mild cognitive impairment.”
However, there’s also good news: thankfully, stress is one of the risk factors for MCI that can be altered and could be a treatment target. According to Mindy Katz, M.P.H., a leading author of the study, also added that perceived stress could be altered through mindfulness, therapies for cognitive behavior and – ultimately – drugs for stress reduction.
These interventions could prevent, or, at least, delay cognitive decline in people, especially in those who are prone to develop Alzheimer’s due to their genetic heritage. The study is based on data collected from 507 older adults enrolled in the EAS study (Einstein Aging Study).
The EAS is a rathere extensive research project that has been systematically recruiting adults from 1993; the participants undergo annual assessments that include clinical evaluations, psychosocial measures, neuropsychological tests, medical history and reports of memory and cognitive incidents.
Image Source: ETHZ
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