A recent study has revealed that anxiety in older adults could be an early sign of Alzheimer's. According to the research, carried out by scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital, when proteins linked to Alzheimer's disease increase in people's brains, they are likely to become more anxious. Though this is not the first study to focus on the link between mental health issues and the degenerative disease, the new research centered on anxiety as the most closely linked symptom.
The researchers, who reached their results by analyzing 300 older adults, believe with further research anxiety could become an early warning sign and helpful in monitoring patients for early treatment of Alzheimer's. Short-term, temporary episodes of fear and stress such as those experienced by people before an exam, job interview or driving test are part of everyday life. However, scientists claim when feelings of stress and anxiety become long-term, chronic conditions due to work or personal problems, they can begin to “wreak havoc” on immune, metabolic and cardiovascular systems and cause damage to the brain. Researchers know there is still much work to be done in understanding the link between anxiety and Alzheimer’s. In the absence of one widely used biomarker for early Alzheimer’s detection, they hope anxiety testing can be useful in identifying those at risk for the disease
By: Swati Kaushal