The Question Will midlife anxiety lead to dementia?
Are you anxious? Stressed out? Worried about getting old? Then you could be on the fast track to early-onset dementia, according to a a UK medical study.
That’s right – the more you worry, the more likely it is that you will develop dementia in later life. So now you’ve really got something to worry about.
Mind you, you have to be a middle-aged worrier to end up in the dementia danger zone. If you’re a teenager or in your 20s, you can worry away happily without a care in the world.
But if you’re in your 50s, and suffering from anxiety or depression, in 10 years you could be a candidate for vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Researchers from the University of Southampton and University College London trawled through more than 3,500 studies looking at links between midlife anxiety and the development of dementia, and found four studies involving nearly 30,000 people which suggested a definite correlation.
The results of the study were published by the BMJ
Open online medical journal this week. The researchers write: “Clinically significant anxiety in midlife was associated with an increased risk of dementia over an interval of at least 10 years.”
To many in the medical world, this link between midlife anxiety and later-life dementia won’t come as a great surprise.
Recent research has revealed a connection between anxiety and mild cognitive impairment. If this latest study is correct, we may be looking at a major cognitive catastrophe within a decade.
So, will eliminating all anxiety now prevent the onset of dementia down the road? Actually, the researchers don’t know the answer to that one.
They can’t tell if yoga retreats and chakra-realigning weekends will do anything to stop the mass exodus of brain cells.
But I think they can be certain about one thing: worrying about it won’t do you any good.