The 27 Stressful Life Events That Can Lead to Alzheimer’s

The 27 Stressful Life Events That Can Lead to Alzheimer’s

Stressful life events have been shown to cause premature aging in the brain. Even when these events occur at a young age, they raise the risk of Alzheimer’s later in life. It is common for people to only think about brain health when they reach their senior years, but in reality, brain health is something that should be thought of throughout one’s life, in the same way that physical health is considered. Twenty seven particular events have been shown to be more likely to lead to Alzheimer’s late in life–things such as death of a parent or child, serving time in prison, or dropping out of college or school. It is possible that the stress of such events cause inflammation within the brain, which can lead to dementia and other age-related mental illnesses. Alzheimer’s has also been linked to depression, and it is understandable why these events could result in depression. This study’s results suggest that while each stressful event adds about 1.5 years to one’s “brain age” in most races, in African-Americans, the rate of aging is drastically increased, with each event adding four years to the brain’s age. More examination is needed as to why this happens, but it could be linked to the higher rates of Alzheimer’s among African-Americans.

Key Points:

  • 1A study has found that stressful events can age the human brain up to an extra one and a half years.
  • 2The study honed in on almost thirty events that could, by the extremity of the stress they present, pave the way for later Alzheimer’s.
  • 3Some of the traumatic events noted were death of significant family members, loss of home and property and physical, or sexual, assault.

Dementia and brain health should be thought of as life-course issues, not just mid-life or late-life problems.

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