Stress in middle age could contribute to later dementia

September, 2010

A long-running study of Swedish women has revealed that dementia risk is greater in those who experienced periods of stress in middle age.

Data from a 35-year study of women from Gothenburg in Sweden has revealed that the risk of dementia was about 65% higher in women who reported repeated periods of stress in middle age than in those who did not. The risk increased with number of periods of stress, with women who reported stress on all three occasions they were asked (1968, 1974 and 1980) having more than double the risk of dementia. Stress was defined as a sense of irritation, tension, nervousness, anxiety, fear or sleeping problems lasting a month or more due to work, health, family or other problems. Of the 1462 women in the sample used, 11% developed dementia, 65% of which was Alzheimer’s and 25% vascular dementia.

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