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Stressful lifestyle may trigger Alzheimer's

June 26, 2012 - London

Stressful lifestyles could be the key trigger to set off the incurable Alzheimer's disease, researchers say.

The study revealed that even the trauma of bereavement or moving home could bring on dementia.

Scientists funded by the Alzheimer's Society are investigating the link and hope their findings could lead to new drug treatments to fight the disease.

A study at the University of Kuopio in Finland has found that the long-term effects of Stress may be the biggest cause of the disease.

When Stressed, our blood pressure rises as our heart beats faster and levels of the hormone cortisol in the bloodstream also increase.

Experts believe once cortisol enters the brain it starts to kill off cells there, leading to Alzheimer's.

The Finnish scientists found that patients with high blood pressure and high cortisol levels were more than three times as likely to develop Alzheimer's than those without these conditions.

"All of us go through Stressful events. We are looking to understand how these may become a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's. Bereavement or a traumatic experience, possibly even moving home, is also a potential factor," the Daily Express quoted Professor Clive Holmes at the University of Southampton, who is leading the new research, as saying.

"This is the first stage in developing ways in which to intervene with psychological or drug-based treatments to fight the disease.

"We are looking at two aspects of Stress relief - physical and psychological - and the body's response to that experience," he added.

Research has shown that Stressed middle-aged women are 65 per cent more likely to develop dementia.

Scientists at Gothenberg University in Sweden found those who complained of repeated periods of Stress, including irritation, anxiety or sleeping problems were significantly more likely to develop dementia in old age than those who led worry-free lives.


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