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Stress can increase memory decline

High levels of stress may contribute to memory loss among people at risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease, research shows.

A study of 91 individuals aged an average 79 years found that those with low levels of the stress hormone cortisol performed better on memory tests than those that were highly stressed.

Study author Guerry Peavy comments: "Perhaps the most interesting result of the study was the interaction we found between genetic status and the experience of high stress events.

That is, that highly stressful experiences only had a detrimental effect on memory for individuals with a genetic determination for Alzheimer's Disease.

Editor of Biological Psychiatry John Krystal says: "This is a very exciting time in Alzheimer's disease research.

"These data raise the possibility that psycho-social interventions and psychothreapuetic medications might enhance the effectiveness medication treatment strategies aimed at preserving memory function in older adults."

Biological Psychiatry