Spouses at greater risk of dementia
Wednesday 05 May 2010
The husbands and wives of people with dementia are six times more likely to develop the condition themselves, research suggests.
The stress and depression linked to watching a spouse deteriorate could increase the risk of dementia, according to the study of 1,221 married couples. Husbands also appear to be at higher risk than wives, researchers said.
Scientists from Utah State University in the US analysed data from couples where dementia was present and compared it with couples where dementia did not develop. More than 200 people were diagnosed with dementia over the 12 years of the study, carried out in Utah on people aged 65 and older.
A total of 125 cases of dementia only in the husband were diagnosed, 70 only in the wife, and 30 where both spouses were diagnosed (60 people).
The authors, writing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, said stress may play a key role in increasing the risk of dementia, although further research was needed on lifestyle factors and environment, which could have an effect. They noted that people caring for a loved one with dementia report more stress and the need to provide more support than those who are caring for somebody with a physical disability.
The authors concluded: "The chronic and often severe stress associated with dementia caregiving may exert substantial risk for the development of dementia in spouse care-givers. The burden for spouses may be even greater because of close emotional ties to their partner and greater likelihood of fatigue with physical exertion."
Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Two people living the same lifestyle may be exposed to the same risk factors so it could be possible that spouses both develop dementia. However there has been limited research in this area and more is needed to determine which people are the most vulnerable."
Life & Style blogs
GTA 5 Online DLC: San Andreas Flight School update brings 16-seater jet plane and more
What is ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge?
James Foley beheading: Twitter 'actively suspending' accounts sharing graphic imagery
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
'Long Live the Nazis' spaghetti dish sold in Taiwan renamed after backlash
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
- 4 Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda': Singer finally releases predictable video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...
£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...
£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...