Tagdementia

Dementia Caregivers More Likely to Also Get the Disease

older couple

Elderly people who care for a spouse who has dementia are at increased risk of developing dementia themselves, a study finds. The stress of attending to a mentally incapacitated spouse may somehow contribute to the added risk, scientists report in the May Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

sciencenewsPrevious studies have shown that chronic stress leads to increased levels of the hormone cortisol in the body, which can suppress immunity, says study co-author Peter Rabins, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore who teamed with researchers at Utah State University in Logan to do this study. “It’s long been thought that this might have adverse outcomes psychologically and physiologically.”

Taking care of a spouse with dementia takes a toll in other ways as well, Rabins says. “Caregivers often complain that they lose their friends,” he says, because they don’t have time to socialize. But the biological mechanisms that might link these challenges to heightened dementia risk remain unclear.

Wired Science: Dementia Caregivers More Likely to Also Get the Disease

Prior research on social life and aging:

Socializing Appears to Delay Memory Problems

Socializing Can Help Elderly Women Stay Sharp

The Effect of Social Engagement on Incident Dementia

To Increase Longevity, Friends Are More Important Than Family

Semantic memory pinpointed in the brain

The part of the brain responsible for the way we understand words, meanings and concepts has been revealed as the anterior temporal lobe – a region just in front of the ears.

In a novel experiment, neuroscientists pinpointed the exact region of the brain that is responsible for encoding semantic memory, which is disrupted in certain forms of dementia.

Semantic dementia is the second most common form of dementia in under-65s and is associated with significant loss of brain tissue in the temporal lobe. Patients are able to generate speech fluently but lose their knowledge of objects, people and abstract concepts.

Full Story: New Scientist.

(via Great News Network)

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