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Does stress cause Alzheimer's disease?

Does stress cause Alzheimer's disease?
27th March 2012

Chronic stress may be one of the contributing factors to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

This is the finding of a study at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, which recorded the production and accumulation of insoluble tau protein aggregates in the brains of mice put under stress.

Tau protein is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease and the aggregates found in the mice were similar to the neurofibrillary tangles.

Lead author Dr Robert A Rissman explained that the discovery may explain why studies have previously found a strong link between those people prone to stress and the development of Alzheimer's. 

"In the mouse models, we found that repeated episodes of emotional stress, which has been demonstrated to be comparable to what humans might experience in ordinary life, resulted in the phosphorylation and altered solubility of tau proteins in neurons," he said.

The study reinforces the importance of reducing stress levels to maintain good physical and mental health.

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