Home >> Lifestyle

High stress in old age can increase Alzheimer's risk

A new study has found that high stress could lead to Alzheimer's disease in old age.

The findings of the study were published this week in the journal Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders. The researchers claimed that older people who are facing higher levels of stress are more than twice as likely to suffer from Alzheimer's than those who are not dealing with a lot of stress. For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 507 adults aged 70 and above, all enrolled in New York's Einstein Aging Study.

"Perceived stress reflects the daily hassles we all experience, as well as the way we appraise and cope with these events," said first author Mindy Katz, explaining the type of stress involved in the study. "Perceived stress can be altered by mindfulness-based stress reduction, cognitive-behavioral therapies and stress-reducing drugs. These interventions may postpone or even prevent an individual's cognitive decline."

"Our study provides strong evidence that perceived stress increases the likelihood that an older person will develop aMCI (amnestic mild cognitive impairment)," said study lead Dr. Richard Lipton in a press release. "Fortunately, perceived stress is a modifiable risk factor for cognitive impairment, making it a potential target for treatment."

A total of 507 elderly patients were enrolled by the researchers in the study and it was found that 71 of them suffered from aMCI, with gender, depression, and educational attainment listed among the factors affecting risk of developing the condition.

"Perceived stress reflects the daily hassles we all experience, as well as the way we appraise and cope with these events," noted study co-author Mindy Katz, who also suggested some tools to help older people deal with stress. "Perceived stress can be altered by mindfulness-based stress reduction, cognitive-behavioral therapies and stress-reducing drugs. These interventions may postpone or even prevent an individual's cognitive decline."