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Researches look for stress/dementia link

June 26, 2012 at 9:01 PM

SOUTHAMPTON, England, June 26 (UPI) -- British researchers said they are beginning a study to determined if stress is a risk factor for dementia.

Clive Holmes, a professor of biological psychiatry at the University of Southampton, said the study will monitoring 140 people age 50 and older with mild cognitive impairment over an 18-month period.

The study participants will be assessed for levels of stress and assessed for any progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.

About 60 percent of people with mild cognitive impairment are known to develop Alzheimer's, Holmes said.

"There is a lot of variability in how quickly that progression happens. One factor increasingly implicated in the process is chronic stress," Homes said in a statement. "That could be driven by a big change -- usually negative -- such as a prolonged illness, injury or a major operation."

The participants will be assessed for levels of stress and assessed for any progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.

More effective coping methods for dealing with stress and a greater understanding of its biological impact may provide the answer.

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