Middle-age stress linked to Alzheimer’s
Those who often feel stressed while middle-aged carry a greater risk of developing dementia, especially Alzheimer’s, later in life, a new study by Swedish researchers has shown.
The study, by researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University, has been published in the medical journal Brain and is the first Swedish study to have followed women under 35 which shows a link between stress and dementia.
“Stress was defined as a feeling of irritation, tension, nervousness, anxiety, fear or sleeping difficulties for a month or longer in relation to employment, health, family situation or some other reason,” said Lena Johansson, a researcher at Department of Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology (Epinep), Section of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
The study involved a sample of women who were first studied in 1968, when they were 38-60-years-old and then again in 1974, 1980, 1992 and 2000.
A question pertaining to psychological stress was included in the 1968, 1974 and 1980 studies and was answered by 1,415 people.
Over the 35 years of the study 161 of the participants developed dementia, normally Alzheimer’s. The risk for developing dementia has been calculated as 65 percent higher among women who reported periods of stress when middle-aged in comparison to those who reporting being stress-free.