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By Dr. Brian McDonough

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Could stress have a long-term impact on your memory or the development of dementia?

Certainly we know that stress can raise blood pressure and have a negative impact on the heart. There is also a link between stress and certain forms of cancer.

Scientists are pointing to a study in Sweden which has linked psychosocial stressors in midlife to dementia later in life.

In the study, psychiatrists evaluated 800 middle-aged women in 1968. Over the next 37 years, the patients were reassessed for distress and signs of dementia. Patients with more psychosocial stressors such as divorce, widowhood, alcohol abuse in a spouse were more likely to develop dementia later in life.

What was interesting was that some people stated they really didn’t feel bothered by stress. According to the research, even though people have different thresholds for reporting distress, their bodies still respond the same way to stressors, even if they’re unaware of it.

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