The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging. It was led by Maria Norton, an associate professor at Utah State Universityâ€™s Department of Family, Consumer and Human Development.
The research used that data of 15-year Cache County Memory Study (CCMS) to focus on the role psychological stress has on dementia.
Maria Norton said: â€œUsing this objective data, such as death records, medical information, and the cognitive evaluations from the CCMS, we were able to see that people who experienced particularly stressful life events, such as a parentâ€™s death during oneâ€™s childhood, death of a child or spouse, or living with a spouse who is afflicted with dementia is associated with significantly higher rates of dementia later in life.â€
The research also found that individuals who had high levels of religious involvement, thus indicating that the ability to cope with psychological adversity might reduce the risk of Alzheimerâ€™s.
Norton adds that â€œThere are certainly some individuals who seem to weather stress and trials better than others, and as such they donâ€™t tend to develop depression or face the long-term chronic exposure to the stress-related hormones that are linked to dementia.
â€œThis indicates that there may be preventative measures that can be taken to prevent or delay dementia. This study has helped us determine how to identify the more vulnerable subgroups of people who might benefit from stress management or other preventive interventions.â€
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