According to recent reports in several UK newspapers, Alzheimer’s Disease could be causes, along with other genetic and circumstantial factors, by a stressful life.
The definition given in these articles of a more stressful life is one underpinned by a high-stress occupation.
The idea that stress may have a lasting effect on people was explored in a paper written and researched by a Swedish PhD student, in which mice were tested for levels of a stress hormone.
These stress hormones, which are elevated in the brain when a person is harassed, inhibit brain activity. Prolonged exposure to these hormones may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s.
Some research has already highlighted a possible link between chronic stress, cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s, and further study in people is needed to fully investigate these links.
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“If we can better understand the risk factors for Alzheimer’s we can also empower people to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk.
‘Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, affecting half a million people in the UK, and we urgently need new treatments that could stop the disease in its tracks.
‘Although we can’t say from these findings that chronic stress causes Alzheimer’s, there are a number of other health reasons for taking steps to manage our stress levels,’ she said.
‘Research to understand the causes of the disease could identify targets for future treatment development, and we must invest in research to make a real difference to people’s lives.’
For more information on these findings, visit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314085049.htm
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