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Don’t Take It So Hard, For Your Brain’s Sake

STRESS affects Alzheimer’s risk. Find out how, along with 10 ways to de-stress and relax.

STRESS affects Alzheimer’s risk. It’s that simple. This research study explains how that happens, and offers 10 ways to de-stress and relax.

The Study

Women who suffer from a lot of stress in middle age may increase their risk of developing dementia.

This is according to research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

The researchers say that the response to common life events – such
as divorce or serious illness or death of a close family member – may
trigger long lasting physiological changes in the brain. The study
looked at 800 Swedish women whose mental health and wellbeing was
tracked over a period of almost 40 years as part of the larger project
which started in 1968. Between 1968 and 2006, 10 per cent (153)
developed dementia, 104 of whom developed Alzheimer’s disease.

How to De-Stress

Suggestions for De-Stressing
  1. Get plenty of exercise.
  2. Use deep breathing and other
    relaxation techniques.
  3. Get regular massages.
  4. Get enough sleep at night.
  5. Eat well and take care of your
  1. Leave work at work, both physically
    and mentally.
  2. Turn off work phones or emails
    during your off hours.
  3. Keep your spouse posted about
    major happenings at work, but save your day-to-day complaints for a co-worker
    who better understands.
  4. If the hours your job demands
    are interfering with your marriage, consider making a change.
  1. Set boundaries with your
    extended families so they don’t impose or cause friction in your marriage.
  2. Take dual responsibility for
    caring for your children so one parent doesn’t get overwhelmed.
  3. Remember that it’s perfectly
    appropriate and healthy to spend time together away from your kids. Hire a
    babysitter or send them to spend a weekend with the grandparents.
  1. Live within your means. Set a
    budget and stick to it.
  2. Have an emergency fund saved so
    you can worry less about having the worst happen.
  3. Meet with a financial advisor
    and talk about things like college savings and retirement. You’ll feel better
    about your financial future if you’re prepared.
  4. Consider separate accounts for
    your day-to-day needs so you don’t have to constantly keep up with what the
    other is spending.

Stress in Alzheimer’s Prevention & Treatment

Dr. Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society, commented,

‘This study is not the first to link stress with the development of
dementia. However, it is still unclear whether stress is a cause of the
condition or exacerbates the symptoms.

‘We all go through stressful events at some stage in our lives.
Understanding how these events may become a risk factor for the
development of Alzheimer’s disease is key to helping us find ways of
preventing or treating the condition. This is an important area of
research and one that we are currently supporting. It’s hoped the
results of our study, and others, will offer clues to new treatments or
better ways of managing Alzheimer’s.’

Other good sources on how to develop healthy habits to prevent Alzheimer’s include:


Research Ref: Dr Lena Johansson et al. ‘Common psychosocial
stressors in middle-aged women related to longstanding distress and
increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease: a 38-year longitudinal population
‘, published in BMJ Open, 30 September 2013


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B. Berger

B. Berger

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This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

It is a place where we separate out the wheat from the chaffe, the important articles & videos from each week’s river of news. With a new post on Alzheimer’s or dementia appearing on the internet every 7 minutes, the site’s focus on the best information has been a help to many over the past 15 years. Thanks to our many subscribers for your supportive feedback.

The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

Peter Berger, Editor


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