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Midlife Stress Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

Women who suffer from stress during middle age may have a greater chance of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life, Bloomberg reported. Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden published the results of a study that spanned nearly 40 years and found that psychological stress is associated with a 21 percent greater risk of developing the disease. 

According to Bloomberg, the study followed 800 Swedish women who were born between 1914 and 1930. The individuals underwent neuropsychiatric tests between 1968 and 2005.

"This suggests that common psychosocial stressors may have severe and long-standing physiological and psychological consequences," the authors of the paper published in BMJ stated.

As a result of the findings, scientists may take a non-medical approach to preventing some instances of dementia. Since there are currently no drugs on the market that can slow the progression of Alzheimer's, although therapies such as stress management and behavioral therapy may be an option, according to the source. 

The average age of women who are diagnosed with dementia was 78 and approximately 153 women suffered from the disease before dying at the average age of 79. According to Bloomberg, a biological mechanism explains the link between psychological stress and dementia and damage to the hippocampus. 

Many family caregivers who have relatives with the disease may find that Alzheimer's care can help keep their loved ones performing day-to-day tasks.

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