Looking after a spouse with dementia greatly increases your own risk of dementia

July, 2010

A long-running study has revealed that caring for a spouse with dementia is as strong a risk factor for developing Alzheimer's as having the 'Alzheimer's gene'.

A 12-year study involving 1,221 married couples ages 65 or older (part of the Cache County (Utah) Memory Study) has revealed that husbands or wives who care for spouses with dementia are six times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s themselves than those whose spouses don't have it. The increased risk is of comparable size to having the ‘Alzheimer's gene’. The researchers speculate that the great stress of caregiving might be responsible for the increased dementia risk, emphasizing the need for greater caregiver support.

Reference: 

[1583] Norton, M. C., Smith K. R., Østbye T., Tschanz JA. T., Corcoran C., Schwartz S., et al.
(2010).  Greater Risk of Dementia When Spouse Has Dementia? The Cache County Study.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 58(5), 895 - 900.

Related News

A study involving 65 older adults (59-80), who were very sedentary before the study (reporting less than two episodes of physical activity lasting 30 minutes or more in the previous six months), has found that those who joined a walking group improved their cognitive performance and the connecti

A study involving over 180,000 older veterans (average age 68.8 at study start), of whom 29% had PTSD, has revealed that those with PTSD had a significantly greater risk of developing dementia.

Following on from previous research with mice that demonstrated that a diet rich in

A study involving over 1100 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease at 50 French clinics has revealed that receiving a comprehensive care plan involving regular 6-monthly assessments (with standardised guidelines for the management of problems) produced no benefits compared to receivi

A small study suggests that the apathy shown by many Alzheimer's patients may not simply be due to memory or language problems, but to a decreased ability to experience emotions.

Confirming previous research, a study involving 270 Alzheimer’s patients has found that larger head size was associated with better performance on memory and thinking tests, even when there was an equivalent degree of brain damage.

Anticholinergics are widely used for a variety of common medical conditions including insomnia, allergies, or incontinence, and many are sold over the counter.

While brain training programs can certainly improve your ability to do the task you’re practicing, there has been little evidence that this transfers to other tasks.

A review of the many recent studies into the effects of music training on the nervous system strongly suggests that the neural connections made during musical training also prime the brain for other aspects of human communication, including learning.

A rat study demonstrates how specialized brain training can reverse many aspects of normal age-related cognitive decline in targeted areas. The month-long study involved daily hour-long sessions of intense auditory training targeted at the primary auditory cortex.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news