Stress Can Accelerate Alzheimer’s

Stress-induced hormones produced by the brain can increase an individual‰Ûªs risk of developing Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease and accelerate the development of Alzheimer‰Ûªs in individuals already suffering from the disease.
This study is the first to discover the precise mechanism that causes stress-induced Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease.
When the brain is stressed, it produces steroids that can inhibit general brain activity. One of such steroids, allopregnanolon.

A research team conducted a laboratory experiment on mice genetically predisposed to developing Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease. The mice were treated chronically with elevated allopregnanolone levels, comparable to those caused by mild stress. After a period of no steroid treatment, the mice were tested for learning and memory.
The mice with elevated levels of the stress steroid experienced impaired memory and learning in the earliest stages of Alzheimer‰Ûªs development, when they normally would not display these symptoms. The brains of the mice also displayed higher levels of beta-amyloids, proteins that formåÊplaques between nerve cellsåÊin the brains of individuals with Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease.åÊ

The researchers noted that a similar acceleration of Alzheimer’s disease in humans due to chronic stress could mean the difference between living independently and requiring professional care.

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