Stress may aggravate Alzheimer’s risk

May 27th, 2011 - 1:05 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 27 (IANS) Don’t strees yourself too much, else an increased release of stress hormones could trigger Alzheimer’s disease, to go by new research based on mice.

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Germany, have discovered that increased release of stress hormones in rats leads to production of excess tau protein in the brain and ultimately, memory loss.

Clumps of protein deposits in nerve cells are a typical feature of Alzheimer’s disease, caused by overabundance of tau protein, the Journal of Neuroscience reports.

As a result, nerve cells die, particularly in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays an important role in learning and memory, as well as in the prefrontal cortex which regulates higher cognitive functions, according to a Max Planck statement.

“Our findings show that stress hormones and stress can cause changes in the tau protein like those that arise in Alzheimer’s disease”, explains Osborne Almeida from the Max Planck Institute.

These Munich-based researchers, along with colleagues from University of Minho in Portugal, have shown that stress, and the hormones released during stress, can accelerate the development of Alzheimer disease-like biochemical and behavioural pathology.

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