14 March 2013
Is your job bad for your health?
Stress seems to be a part of our everyday lives, whether it is at work or at home. A study has found that stress hormones can inhibit brain activity, which can increase the risk of developing dementia.
Sara Bengtsson, a PhD student from Umea University, in Sweden, tested the theory on mice. The results showed that those with higher levels of stress hormone suffered from impaired
learning and memory.
The study showed that high levels of amyloids are linked to the malfunctioning brain synapses – the connections between nerve cells. The loss of these synapses is believed to be the cause of the memory loss and communication problems often associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said, “It’s important to remember this research was not carried out in people. Some research has already highlighted a possible link between chronic stress, cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s, and further study in people is needed to fully investigate these links.”
He added, “If we can better understand the risk factors for Alzheimer’s we can also empower people to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, affecting half a million people in the UK, and we urgently need new treatments that could stop the disease in its tracks. Although we can’t say from these findings that chronic stress causes Alzheimer’s, there are a number of other health reasons for taking steps to manage our stress levels.”