Loading Please wait, logging in.
Join ALFA Member Login RSS Feed
Tagline Image
Bookmark and Share  

Chronic Stress May Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Says

New research has found that stress-induced hormones produced by the brain can increase an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s in individuals already suffering from the disease.

While previous reports have linked elevated levels of stress with an increased risk in an individual developing dementia, this study is the first to discover the precise mechanism that causes stress-induced Alzheimer’s disease.

When the brain is stressed, it produces steroids that can inhibit general brain activity. One of such steroids, allopregnanolon, was the subject of a study led by Swedish researcher Sara K. Bengtsson.

In order to test how and why stress can lead to dementia later in life, the research team conducted a laboratory experiment on mice genetically predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s disease. The mice were treated chronically with elevated allopregnanolone levels, comparable to those caused by mild stress. After a period of no steroid treatment, the mice were tested for learning and memory.

The mice with elevated levels of the stress steroid experienced impaired memory and learning in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s development, when they normally would not display these symptoms. The brains of the mice also displayed higher levels of beta-amyloids, proteins that form plaques between nerve cells in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers noted that a similar acceleration of Alzheimer's disease in humans due to chronic stress could mean the difference between living independently and requiring professional care.

Bengtsson concluded that allopregnanolone is an important link in the mechanism behind stress-induced Alzheimer’s disease, but that further studies would be required to uncover the full extent of its influence.

Read the study abstract: Stress Steroids as Accelerators of Alzheimer's Disease- Effects of Chronically Elevated Levels of Allopregnanolone in Transgenic AD Models.



Suggested Articles:

2/3/2016
Facts and Figures, Memory Care Best Practices and Research, Memory Care Education, Reports
Eating more seafood is not linked to a likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and in fact may help in preventing cognitive decline, according to...
2/1/2016
Tools for prolonging and improving cognitive ability help many senior living residents stay sharp.
2/1/2016
Geriatrician and memory care expert Dr. G. Allen Power on how senior living can support a much-needed focus on well-being and engagement.
12/21/2015
Memory Care Best Practices and Research, Memory Care Education, Reports
The National Institutes of Health has released its annual report 2014-2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Advancing Research Toward a Cure,” det...
12/14/2015
Federal Agency Activity, Health and Wellness, Memory Care Best Practices and Research, Memory Care Education
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has shared revised survey materials developed for the 2014 Focused Dementia Survey Pilot and 2015 expansi...
03/19/2013


Additional Resources