The BBC reported recently that there would be an investigation, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, to see how stress affects people with mild cognitive impairment or “pre-dementia”. A lot of research has been done on the link between stress and diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis, showing that chronic stress can speed up the progression, or make the symptoms worse. So this research may add to the growing body of evidence on how chronic stress impacts on our physical bodies and is linked with many conditions.
This particular research seems to have been encouraged by a Swedish study that found the risk of dementia was about 65% higher in women who reported repeated periods of stress in middle age than in those who did not.
The slightly depressing aspect though is the amount of time all these studies take, before the ‘evidence’ is there and people actually start getting the help they need. For example in 2008 there was an article published on the work of Forensic psychologist, Dr Simon Duff and dementia consultant, Dr Dan Nightingale that suggests hypnotherapy may provide real benefits for those with dementia:
people living with dementia who had received hypnosis therapy showed an improvement in concentration, memory and socialisation compared to the other two treatment groups. Relaxation, motivation and daily living activities also improved with the use of hypnosis.
but how many know that?