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Dec 13, 2015 03:22 AM EST

Stress increases risk of Alzheimer's in elderly

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A study has revealed that being stressed increases the chances of elderly people developing mild cognitive impairment which can later lead to full-blown Alzheimer's disease, Times of India reports. 

For the study, the researchers analyzed data collected from 507 people enrolled in the Einstein Ageing Study (EAS), a community-based group of older adults. 

The findings were published online in Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders.

"Our study provides strong evidence that perceived stress increases the likelihood that an older person will develop aMCI," said senior study author Richard Lipton from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. 

"Fortunately, perceived stress is a modifiable risk factor for cognitive impairment, making it a potential target for treatment," Lipton said. 

The study found that highly stressed participants were more than twice as likely to develop cognitive impairment become impaired than those who were not. Therefore, controlling stress in older people might help delay or prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease.

"Perceived stress reflects the daily hassles we all experience, as well as the way we appraise and cope with these events," said study first author, Mindy Katz. 

"Perceived stress can be altered by mindfulness-based stress reduction, cognitive-behavioural therapies and stress-reducing drugs. These interventions may postpone or even prevent an individual's cognitive decline," Katz added. 

Starting in 2005, the EAS began assessing stress using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). PSS scores range from 0 to 56, with higher scores indicating greater perceived stress, according to PR Newswire.

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