New research suggests that there may be a link between an increase in symptoms of anxiety and a risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease causes the decline of cognitive function, which eventually becomes severe enough to leave sufferers unable to carry out daily tasks and activities.
A main cause of the disease is thought to be the buildup of proteins amyloid beta and tau in the brain. Amyloid beta can fold and form into plaques which build up in the spaces between nerve cells, while tau forms into tangles which build up inside cells.
Previous research has suggested that depression and other neuropsychiatric symptoms may be predictors of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease during its “preclinical” phase — the stage of the disease where amyloid beta and tau can accumulate in the brain, and which can occur more than a decade before the onset of symptoms can be seen by individuals or physicians.
To look at a possible link between levels of amyloid beta and measures of depression and depressive symptoms in cognitively normal, older adults, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital gathered data from 270 male and female participants aged between 62 and 90 years old.