Don’t Worry, Be Happy - It Can Prevent Alzheimer’s
Mental Well-Being May Help to Defuse a Ticking Health Timebomb
January 14th, 2004
Studies have projected that if a cure for Alzheimer’s isn’t found,
the ageing of baby boomers will mean a 300% rise in cases of the degenerative
brain disease; a possibility that threatens to strain the healthcare system
and potentially bankrupt Medicare and Medicaid. With a cure still distant on
the horizon, recent research suggests the best prevention might be just being happy.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have found that those who
most often experience negative feelings - such as anxiety and depression -
are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who were least prone to
being down. The study, conducted with a group of almost 800 elderly priests, nuns
and monks, also showed that certain types of memory declined ten times more quickly
among the most stress-prone seniors.
The researchers aren’t quite sure of the cause. It’s possible that
stress produces an increase in the amount of certain hormones, such as Cortisol,
which can damage the brain. Another possibility is that an underlying disease
process, one that might involve the narrowing of blood vessels in the brain,
causes emotions like depression at the same time it causes Alzheimer’s.
The jury will be out until more research is done. Until then, those worried they might
catch Alzheimer’s should just relax and look on the bright side.
View Previous Articles