As the population continues to age, it’s all researchers can do to keep up and desperately try to solve the memory-loss puzzle.
After all, dementia plagues MILLIONS of people each year—and that statistic is set to jump by a whopping 40 percent in the next ten years.
So, what’s at play here?
Well, we know, for example, that poor heart health blocks proper blood flow to the brain, increasing the risk for dementia.
But now, increasing evidence suggests that experiencing a certain illness in early adulthood could TRIGGER cognitive decline up to a decade or longer down the road…
Here’s everything you need to know…
Depression today, dementia tomorrow?
This latest research used statistical analysis to determine that people with more depression symptoms in early adulthood—defined, in this study, as being between the ages of 20 and 49—are nearly 75 percent more likely to wind up with cognitive impairment in later life.
Those with depressive symptoms in later life, meanwhile, are more than 40 percent more likely to struggle with cognitive decline.
To discover this, researchers screened roughly 15,000 subjects for depression or moderate-to-high depressive symptoms. And they identified this condition in 13 percent of young adults, more than 25 percent of middle-aged adults, and more than 33 percent of older folks.
Plus, neuropsychological testing—along with data on cognitive decline, dementia diagnoses, and dementia medication use—showed cognitive impairment in nearly 1,300 subjects.
Ultimately, the researchers found that the more depressive symptoms subjects had, the lower their cognition and the faster their rate of decline. And, importantly—these depressive symptoms were red flags for cognitive trouble as many as TEN YEARS in advance.
Significant risk factors
Whether or not depression affects you personally, these findings are worth paying attention to. Especially because as many as 20 percent of the population is going to suffer from depression in their lifetime… making it a significant risk factor that we simply can’t afford to ignore.
Not to mention, depression is often the byproduct of stress—whether situational or chronic. These triggers leave your brain’s central stress response system in a hyperactive state, and flood your brain with stress hormones like cortisol.
When it happens often enough, it can cause damage to the hippocampus—the part of your brain that’s responsible for forming and storing new memories. And research shows that women are especially vulnerable to its effects.
(I have to say, I’m not surprised by any of this. When I’m overly stressed, I find it difficult to recall and retain as much information as I usually can. And with this never-ending pandemic, I’m experiencing the same thing in my patients, as well. A phenomenon I call “COVID brain.”)
So, effectively addressing depression—and stress—may be two strategic ways to help keep dementia at bay as you age.
Of course, combatting the former is likely going to require an individualized strategy for everyone. But here are some lifestyle adjustments that should help improve your mental state (and stress levels) in any situation: regular exercise, a fresh and healthy diet, proper self-care, and good sleep.
For additional ways to protect and restore your memory as you age, I encourage you to check out my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan. This online protocol outlines an all-natural plan to help beat back dementia over the years. To learn more, or to enroll today, simply click here now!
“Happiness in early adulthood may protect against dementia: Depressive symptoms increase risk for cognitive impairment.” Science Daily, 09/28/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210928121341.htm)