There is a constant attempt to understand Alzheimer’s disease and identify early signs to increase awareness. Now, a new study has highlighted that there could be associations between chronic stress, depression, and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
A study led by researchers from Karolinska Institutet has found that people aged 18 to 65, who were diagnosed with either chronic stress or depression condition showed a heightened risk for Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment. Specifically, people diagnosed with both had up to four times the risk. Chronic stress is defined as experiencing stress without recuperation for at least six months, as defined by Neuroscience News.
The findings, published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, showed that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was more than twice as high in patients with chronic stress and those with depression compared to patients without either condition. “The risk is still very small and the causality is unknown,” said one of the study’s authors Axel Carlsson in a press statement. “That said, the finding is important in that it enables us to improve preventative efforts and understand links with the other risk factors for dementia,” he added.
For the study, the researchers focused on 44,447 people between the ages of 18 and 65 who had been diagnosed with chronic stress and/or depression in 2012 and 2013. The data was collected over a period of eight years. It’s very uncommon for people in this age group to develop dementia, so there is a need to identify possible risk factors, explained Carlsson in the statement, as reported by Neuroscience News. “We show here that the diagnosis is more common in people who have suffered chronic stress or depression, but more studies will be required if we’re to demonstrate any causality there,” he added.
Another study in July identified another early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. A study by researchers at the University of Chicago showed that people who carry the gene variant APOE e4, linked with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, could lose their sense of smell first, signalling the onset of the disease, as reported by Earth.com. The study, published in the journal Neurology, showed the link between loss of smell and early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.