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High Levels Of Anxiety Linked To Dementia Risk

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There are many potential triggers for dementia and much is unknown about the various neurological diseases that affect the aging population, like Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia (following a stroke). According to the Alzheimer’s Society:

The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.

A new study draws a connection with periods of being at high anxiety with the development of dementia. The study suggests people who have experienced high anxiety, at any point in their lives, have a 48 percent higher risk of going on to develop dementia in later life.

This prediction is drawn from an analysis of data collated as part of the Swedish Adoption Twin Study of Aging. The Swedish study has been running for 28 years. The study is focused on behavior, personality and impact of alcohol, tobacco, and dietary habits on populations. It achieves a closeness to these factors by studying twins that are not reared by their biological parents (either together or with separate families).

The new study focused on general levels of everyday anxiety, rather than more extreme forms of psychiatric anxiety disorder.

By dividing those in the study into ‘anxiety’ groups, based on data collected from self-completed questionnaires, it was found that those subjects in a high anxiety group were 1.5 times more likely to develop dementia than those in a low anxiety group.

The research is published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia. The paper is headed “Anxiety is associated with increased risk of dementia in older Swedish twins.”

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.