Anxiety: An Early Indicator of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Anxiety: An Early Indicator of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease causes a decline in brain function that affects the ability to handle daily tasks.  Past studies have noted a link between depression and Alzheimer’s.  But how this link happens is still a mystery.  The one thing we do know is that those who suffer Alzheimer’s have large amyloid beta deposits in their brains.

Recently, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have discovered a possible link between the levels of depression in those that are susceptible to Alzheimer’s with the presence of anxiety. To be specific, these investigators have found that higher brain amyloid beta burden was associated with increasing anxiety symptoms in the patients that they tested over a five year span. This suggested that those with higher symptoms of anxiety as associated with depression has resulted as a good early predictor of elevated amyloid beta levels.

It has been noted, however, that there are more longitudinal studies that are needed to confirm that these anxiety-depressive indicators do indeed provide a causal link to the terrible disease later in life.

Key Points:

  • 1Older adults who have anxiety raise their amyloid beta levels in their brain.
  • 2Having high amyloid beta levels is a predictor for AD.
  • 3Knowing this can help slow it down or prevent AD in future generations.

As anxiety is common in older people, rising anxiety symptoms may prove to be most useful as a risk marker in older adults with other genetic, biological or clinical indicators of high AD risk.

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