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Anxiety and stress may lead to dementia

Sat 23 Jan 2016, 10:57:43

People need to find ways to reduce chronic stress and anxiety in their lives or they may be at an increased risk for developing depression and even dementia, warns a review.

There is an "extensive overlap" of the brain's neural activity in anxiety, fear and stress which may explain the link between chronic stress and the development of neuropsychiatric disorders, mental disorders, including depression and Alzheimer's disease, the findings showed.

Chronic stress is a pathological state that is caused by prolonged activation of the normal acute physiological stress response, which can wreak havoc on immune, metabolic and cardiovascular systems, and leads to degeneration of the brain's hippocampus (crucial for long-term memory and spatial navigation).

Experiencing anxiety, fear and stress is considered as a normal part of life when it is occasional and temporary, such as feeling anxious and stressed before an exam or a job interview. However, when these acute emotional reactions become more frequent or chronic, they can significantly interfere with day-to-day activities, warned the researchers.


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