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Mood Disorders And Memory Problems

A new study suggests individuals who are easily distressed are more likely to develop memory problems than more easygoing people.

Specifically, those who most often experience negative emotions such as depression and anxiety were 40 percent more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who were least prone to negative emotions.

The study is published in the June 12, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

In the study, those who most often experience negative emotions such as depression and anxiety were 40 percent more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who were least prone to negative emotions.

Mild cognitive impairment is a transitional stage between normal aging and dementia. People with mild cognitive impairment have mild memory or cognitive problems, but have no significant disability.

Researchers analyzed the results from two larger studies, the Religious Orders Study and the Memory and Aging Project, which involved 1,256 people with no cognitive impairment.

During up to 12 years of follow-up, 482 people developed mild cognitive impairment. Participants were evaluated on their level of proneness to distress and negative emotions by rating their level of agreement with statements such as “I am not a worrier,” “I often feel tense and jittery,” and “I often get angry at the way people treat me.”

“People differ in how they tend to experience and deal with negative emotions and psychological distress, and the way people respond tends to stay the same throughout their adult lives,” said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

“These findings suggest that, over a lifetime, chronic experience of stress affects the area of the brain that governs stress response. Unfortunately, that part of the brain also regulates memory.”

An earlier study by Wilson and his colleagues showed that people who are easily distressed are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than more easygoing people.

Wilson said several factors lead researchers to believe that proneness to stress is a risk factor for memory problems and not an early sign of disease.

For example, while the level of distress does not appear to increase in old age, the changes in the brain related to memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease do increase with age.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Mood Disorders And Memory Problems

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Mood Disorders And Memory Problems. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 13, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/06/12/mood-disorders-and-memory-problems/889.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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