Stressful life experiences 'can age brain by years'

Evrard Martin
Juillet 17, 2017

The team examined a sample of 1,320 people who reported stressful experiences over their life time and underwent tests of thinking and memory.

The subjects' average age was 58 and included 1,232 white Americans and 82 African Americans.

One of the studies, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, found that a single major stressful event early life is equal to four years of cognitive aging.

The new research, presented at a conference in London on Sunday, looks at how stress and dementia are related, with the results helping account for higher incidents of such degenerative diseases among African Americans in the United States, who are nearly twice as likely to suffer from the disease over the age of 65. Wisconsin University's school of medicine and public health led a team of experts in the United States and found that even one major stressful event earlier in life may impact brain health later on.

And a third study of almost 1,500 people by another group of researchers at the University of Wisconsin found "markedly worse" cognitive performance, based on tasks such as verbal learning, immediate memory and speed and flexibility of cognition, in people from the most disadvantages neighbourhoods.

The study, which has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, was presented at the Alzheimer's Association worldwide conference in London.

Stressful life experiences included things such as losing a job, the death of a child, divorce or growing up with a parent, who abused alcohol or drugs. She said that even a change of school could be regarded as a stressful life event for some children.

Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "We know that prolonged stress can have an impact on our health, so it's no surprise that this study indicates stressful life events may also affect our memory and thinking abilities later in life".

New studies looking at how social conditions may affect risk of dementia found that living in stressful circumstances hits one group hardest: African Americans.

"Studying the role of stress is complex". "Our findings suggest that differences in early life conditions may contribute to racial inequalities in dementia rate, and they point to growing evidence that early life conditions contribute to dementia risk in late life". "As we improve our understanding of risk factors for dementia, it is increasingly important to establish the role that stress and stressful life events play". "If you are experiencing stress or anxious about your health, it's important to visit your GP".

D'autres rapports CampDesrEcrues

Discuter de cet article

SUIVRE NOTRE JOURNAL