People who are chronically "distressed" are much more likely to develop memory problems and Alzheimer's disease, researchers say. Scientists monitored 1,256 older people for 12 years. During that period, 482 of the participants developed "mild cognitive impairment"--a fancy way of saying that their memories were beginning to fail. Astonishingly, the individuals who had "stressful personalities" were 40 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment! Of greatest concern is that the changes in the brain associated with mild cognitive impairment are also associated with the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Reasons for being stressed are many, but most of us cannot blame our life circumstances, in fact one of the researchers said "This isn't a measure of stress, but of the response to stress." If you consider yourself as chronically stressed, it is important to remember that you can change with a little consistent effort over time. There are many tools with which to do this on the Stress Reduction Page. You can also check out the Mood Mind and Memory Page, and the Dementia/Alzheimer's Page for activities, foods, and herbs specifically geared toward improving your memory and increasing the health of your brain.
Read a commentary on the study here.