Study: Memory Decline Gets Worse With STRESS
Stress may speed up memory decline in people whose cognitive functioning is already impaired. Researchers followed 52 older adults for three years, comparing the 27 subjects whose cognitive functioning was impaired at the outset of the study to the 25 subjects who had no cognitive impairment when the study began. The impaired subjects had a higher incidence of memory deterioration during the study if they reported experiencing a stressful life event (such as the death of a loved one or hospitalization) in the past six to 12 months. In contrast, the 25 people who were unimpaired at the outset of the study showed no memory decline, even when they reported exposure to similar stressors, according to a report in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Study: A Purposeful Life May Protect against Alzheimer’s Disease
Having a sense of purpose in life may help older people stave off Alzheimer’s disease, says a study published from the Archives of General Psychiatry. Researchers looked at data on 951 older adults who participated in a long-term study to determine whether psychosocial factors might influence risk of dementia. In responses to the statement “I have a sense of direction and purpose in life” and similar purposes-in-life measures, participants who scored 4.2 out of 5 (indicating a higher sense of purpose) were nearly two-and-a-haft times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than people who scored 3.0 out of 5 (indicating a lower sense of purpose), the researchers found. The researchers suggest that increasing older people’s independence and involvement in activities might help lower their feelings of purposelessness and, consequently, their risk for dementia.
Study: Poor Vision Associated With Increased Risk for Dementia
Older adults who have poor vision are 63 percent more likely than those who have good eyesight to develop dementia, possibly because limited vision discourages people from engaging in an active lifestyle, according to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. In a group of 625 cognitively normal older adults, researchers found that 25 percent of people who rated their vision as “fair” or “poor” at the outset of the study went on to develop dementia over the next eight-and-a-half years, compared to fewer than 10 percent of those who rated their vision as “excellent.” An active lifestyle has been associated with lower dementia risk, according to the lead research.