Anxiety May Accelerate Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease
Feeling anxious on occasion is normal, but people who suffer from anxiety disorder have feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with their daily activities. A recent study suggests that people with mild cognitive impairment who suffer from anxiety may develop Alzheimer’s disease faster than people without anxiety.
Participants in the study included 339 with an average age of 72 who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. Participants were screened for anxiety using established clinical surveys. Brain MRIs were used to measure bassline volumes of the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex. Participants were also tested for the presence of the ApoE4 allele, a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
The researchers found that participants who suffered from anxiety had a faster rate of progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease compared to participants without anxiety. These findings held independent of brain volume loss or the presence of the ApoE4 allele.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of South Carolina.It was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America held the week of November 29, 2020.