Midlife stress is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease

Midlife stress is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease


Stressful experiences in midlife or during childhood may be associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and neuroinflammation at later ages, according to a study by the Institute of Global Health in Barcelona (ISGlobal). The research was conducted in collaboration with the Barcelona Beta Brain Research Center (BBRC) and was published in the journal Annals of Neurology. Stressful life events are those in which objective external threats activate behavioral and psychological responses in us. This could be the death of a loved one, unemployment or illness. There is growing evidence that stress can be associated with an increased risk of dementia and cognitive impairment.


The aim of the research was to evaluate whether the accumulation of stressful life events throughout a lifetime can influence the development of Alzheimer's-related diseases in later stages. The researchers had 1,290 volunteers, all of whom had no cognitive impairment at the time of the study but had a direct family history of Alzheimer's disease.

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Participants underwent interviews to assess stressful situations. Likewise, they underwent lumbar punctures and MRIs to analyze various biomarkers related to Alzheimer's disease. Statistical analyzes revealed that the accumulation of stressful situations was associated with higher levels of b-amyloid (AB), a key factor in the development of the disease. The research team also found that higher levels of stressful experiences in childhood were associated with an increased risk of developing neuroinflammation later in life. Inflammation has been recognized as a reaction.

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