Now there’s a thing!
28 June 2012 Leave a comment
Exploring the possible link between anxiety and dementia.
But first a bit of an update!
This is Paul writing this Post, with Jon’s permission I should immediately say! Jon and I go back quite a few years, back to the time when we lived not many miles apart in South Devon. Indeed, when later I decided to start my own blog, Learning from Dogs, it was natural to ask Jon to be a fellow author. But life evolved for Jon as it does for all of us! In Jon’s case the growth of a very busy professional life meant writing for my Blog and, more importantly, his own one here had to take a backseat.
But this particular story resonated so much with my own recent experiences and Jon’s fundamental belief that caring for self is at the heart of a healthy life, and being able to embrace the wider world, that I offered to post this on People Workshop. I should stress that these are my words, and any errors are solely mine.
Is there a link between anxiety and dementia?
Before going to a recent BBC report about this important subject, let me offer a personal anecdote.
A couple of months ago I had cause to be seen by a neurologist. I wanted to get a professional opinion as to whether a degree of forgetfulness that I was experiencing was normal for a person of my age (68 next birthday). Dr. G. not only confirmed that there was absolutely no sign of dementia but that my forgetfulness was perfectly normal for someone of my age who had been through some major life changes in the last few years.
Dr. G. stressed (probably not the best word but you know what I mean!) that me worrying about forgetting stuff and the resulting anxiety was a self-feeding issue. I had to stop being anxious. Indeed, Dr. G. said the following (and this I haven’t forgotten!):
Anxiety is the killer of good bodies and the killer of good brains!
So with those words ringing in your ears, have a read of this report from the BBC News website.
Role of stress in dementia investigated
By Michelle RobertsHealth editor, BBC News online
UK experts are to begin a study to find out if stress can trigger dementia.
The investigation, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, will monitor 140 people with mild cognitive impairment or “pre-dementia” and look at how stress affects their condition.
The researchers will take blood and saliva samples at six-monthly intervals over the 18 months of the study to measure biological markers of stress.
They hope their work will reveal ways to prevent dementia.
The results could offer clues to new treatments or better ways of managing the condition, they say.
People who have mild cognitive impairment are at an increased risk of going on to develop dementia – although some will remain stable and others may improve.
And past work suggests mid-life stress may increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
A Swedish study that followed nearly 1,500 women for a period of 35 years found 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.
Scottish scientists, who have done studies in animals, believe the link may be down to hormones the body releases in response to stress which interfere with brain function.
Prof Clive Holmes, from the University of Southampton, who will lead the study, said: “All of us go through stressful events. We are looking to understand how these may become a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s.
“Something such as bereavement or a traumatic experience – possibly even moving home – are also potential factors.
“This is the first stage in developing ways in which to intervene with psychological or drug-based treatments to fight the disease.
“We are looking at two aspects of stress relief – physical and psychological – and the body’s response to that experience.”
Dr Simon Ridley, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We welcome any research that could shed new light on Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia.
“Understanding the risk factors for Alzheimer’s could provide one piece of the puzzle we need to take us closer to a treatment that could stop the disease in its tracks.”
Obviously, if anyone is affected by the information in this Post, then please do contact Jon Lavin.
Finally, let me leave you with this.