- Reviewed by Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Scientists continue to examine what causes people's brain health to decline. While natural aging and genetics are part of the equation, lifestyle factors can play a significant role. Two recent studies further explored this connection by looking at how stress and diet might affect cognitive function and protect against Alzheimer's disease.
One study found that perceived stress — the degree of stress people feel about their life — was linked to poor cognitive health among older adults. Researchers recruited more than 24,000 people (average age 64). They measured stress and cognitive function with the Perceived Stress Scale and the Mini-Mental State Examination. The results showed that people who scored highest on the stress level scale were more likely to have low cognitive test scores. The reverse was also true — lower stress levels went hand in hand with higher test scores. The results were published online March 7, 2023, by JAMA Network Open.
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About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
About the Reviewer
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
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