Neuroscientists Are Raising Alarm About Alcohol Consumption And Chronic Stress, Claiming They Increase Your Likelihood Of Developing Alzheimer’s

Rido - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

There are two common habits you might have that could be putting you at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Neuroscientists are warning that alcohol consumption and chronic stress contribute to your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s disease affects around 5.8 million Americans. The condition involves memory loss and cognitive decline in the areas of the brain associated with memory, thought, and language.

Experts believe that Alzheimer’s is caused by an abnormal accumulation of proteins in and around the brain cells. However, the exact process of what leads to the buildup is still unclear.

Scientists do know for certain that a combination of genetic and environmental factors elevates the risk of Alzheimer’s. Two of those environmental factors are alcohol consumption and high levels of chronic stress.

Nikki Crowley, an assistant professor of biology and the director of the Penn State Neuroscience Institute at University Park, explained that when a person is exposed to a high amount of stress and drinks alcohol frequently, they will have a greater risk of experiencing cognitive decline and developing Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s really going to depend on how much, and how long, an individual experiences stress and alcohol, either together or separately, as well. For instance, some people consume alcohol to cope with stress, and this can have further cascading negative health effects,” she said.

Crowley and her team studied the connection between these two factors and cognitive decline. They investigated the effects that alcohol consumption and stress had on the brain using animal models “on a really rapid timescale.”

The results indicated that “even moderate amounts of alcohol consumption in midlife can lead to long-lasting changes in the brain that are unlikely to return to their baseline trajectories.”

Alcohol consumption can bring about changes in glutamate signaling, an essential aspect of neuronal communication that aids in the processes of learning and memory. The same changes are observed during cognitive decline.

Rido – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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