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Psychological stress in middle age increases risk of dementia later in life

March 29, 2017

"This is the first study to show that stress in middle age can lead to dementia in old age, and confirms similar findings from studies of animals. Stress has previously been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart attack and hypertension," says Johansson, who also refers to earlier research at the Sahlgrenska Academy showing that cardiovascular disease can lead to Alzheimer's.

"This study could result in a better understanding of the risk factors for dementia, but our results need to be confirmed by other studies, and further research is needed in the area. Most of those who said that they were stressed did not develop dementia, so it's not currently possible to advise people to be less stressed or warn about the dangers of high stress levels due to an increased risk of developing dementia."

Source: University of Gothenburg

Dementia is common in Sweden, increasingly so as we get older. It is estimated that around 7% of the Swedish population over the age of 65 and just over 20% of the over-80s have severe dementia.