Washington: Ongoing stress has been linked to an array of health problems and now, researchers are blaming it for a type of memory decline in older people that’s often a prelude to full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.

In a new study, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System found that highly stressed participants were more than twice as likely to become impaired than those who were not.

Because stress is treatable, the results suggest that detecting and treating stress in older people might help delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. The findings were published online today in Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders.

This study looked at the connection between chronic stress and “amnestic mild cognitive impairment” (aMCI), the most common type of MCI, which is primarily characterized by memory loss.

The study provides strong evidence that perceived stress increases the likelihood that an older person will develop aMCI, said senior author Richard Lipton. “Fortunately, perceived stress is a modifiable risk factor for cognitive impairment, making it a potential target for treatment.”

The study appears in Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders.

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