Women’s mid-life stress linked to memory decline

(Futurity) — A new study links stressful life experiences among middle-aged women — but not men — to greater memory decline in later life.

The researchers say their findings add to evidence that stress hormones play an uneven gender role in brain health, and align with well-documented higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease in women than men.

Although the researchers caution their study was designed to show associations among phenomena, and not determine cause and effect, they say that if future studies demonstrate that stress response does factor into the cause of dementia, then strategies designed to combat or moderate the body’s chemical reactions to stress may prevent or delay onset of cognitive decline.

The findings appear in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 6 women over age 60 will get Alzheimer’s disease, compared with 1 in 11 men. There currently are no proven treatments that prevent or halt progression of the disease. (…)

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