New research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference has found that stressful experiences, like being poor, serious illness, or losing a job age the brain more quickly. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin studied the effect of stressful experiences on 1,320 people and found that they were associated with poorer memory and thinking skills in old age. In fact, they concluded that each one was equal to approximately four years of cognitive ageing.
What’s more, African American participants in the study suffered 60 per cent more stressful events in their lifetimes than their Caucasian counterparts. Researchers are still not clear about the exact ways that stress influences the brain but this adds to growing evidence that environmental and lifestyle factors like diet, exposure to pollution and sleep patterns can affect the risk of dementia.
Read the full breakdown in the Financial Times.