Stress May Cause Alzheimer's
Stress hormones may exacerbate the formation of brain lesions that are the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, according to California researchers.
Frank LaFerla led a team of University of California at Irvine, researchers that found that when young animals were injected for just seven days with dexamethasone -- similar to the body's stress hormones -- the levels of the protein beta-amyloid in the brain increased by 60 percent. When beta-amyloid production increases and these protein fragments aggregate, they form plaques, one of the two hallmark brain lesions of Alzheimer's disease. They also found that the levels of another protein, tau, also increased. Tau accumulation eventually leads to the formation of tangles, the other signature lesion of Alzheimer's.