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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Chronic stress can lead to Alzheimer’s disease – warn experts

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Chronic psychosocial stress increases the risk of dementia and may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Australian scientists have found that chronic stress can lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The results of the study were published in the journal Biological Reviews, writes Health Europa.

Experts from the Curtin University Institute for Medical Innovation looked at the key environmental and genetic factors that can influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), which regulates the production of the hormone cortisol during stress. 

The HPA axis is the main neuroendocrine system that regulates many processes in the body, including digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality, energy storage, and expenditure, and regulates responses to stress. 

Alzheimer’s patients often experience a malfunction of this system and, as a result, an increased level of cortisol. 

According to the authors, genetic stressors along the HPA axis and other pathways can affect the functioning of the brain’s immune system. 

When abnormalities are regular, such as in the case of chronic stress, it increases the risk of dementia and contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Researchers have described the mechanisms by which genetic factors for chronic stress affect the HPA axis, causing inflammation in the brain, the main cause of neurodegeneration. 

According to scientists, genetic factors change the immune response of brain cells and microglia, which contributes to the emergence of a neurotoxic environment. 

Scientists are confident that their discovery will contribute to the development of new recommendations for taking glucocorticoids for stress management, based on the individual characteristics of patients. 

This will ultimately help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Image Credit: Getty

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