Stress Linked to Dementia in Women
Swedish study assesses 800 subjects over almost 40 years
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 1, 2013 7:00 AM CDT
Dementia may be linked to midlife stress.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – In news that is sort of, well, stressful, a study of 800 Swedish women has found that women who suffer from midlife stress may have a higher risk of dementia. Divorce, bereavement, job loss, and mental illness in the family were among the 18 stressors assessed; the study found that such factors led to a 21% higher risk of Alzheimer's and a 15% higher risk of any kind of dementia, LiveScience reports. Researchers found that the higher the number of stressors the women experienced, the greater their dementia risk, the BBC notes.

The study investigated the women's experiences between 1968 and 2005. Subjects went through a variety of tests beginning in their late 30s, mid-40s, or 50s, and testing continued regularly. Some 20%, or 153, of the subjects developed dementia over the course of the study; 104 of them had Alzheimer's. The increased risk may be linked to stress hormones, which can affect the brain and stick around for years.