Post-traumatic stress disorder may double risk of dementia, new analysis finds

6 days 13 hours 50 minutes ago Wednesday, September 16 2020 Sep 16, 2020 Wednesday, September 16, 2020 8:50:08 AM CDT September 16, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
Source: CNN
By: Sandee LaMotte, CNN

(CNN) -- People who experience post-traumatic stress disorder may be twice as likely to have dementia later in life, according to a new study -- a finding with important implications for the coronavirus pandemic.

The disorder occurs when symptoms from a psychological trauma disrupt daily functioning for at least a month. The nation has been reeling from the impact of the deadly novel coronavirus for over seven months.

Almost a third of Americans are suffering from clinical symptoms of depression or generalized anxiety, according to a report from the CommonWealth Fund. The national public health group Well Being Trust, estimated that as many as 75,000 Americans could die because of drug or alcohol misuse or suicide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The risk of experiencing pandemic-related trauma that could turn into PTSD is heightened for frontline doctors and nurses and families who have lost loved ones and ill patients, experts say, especially if they have been on ventilators.

Intubation is known to be associated with some of the highest rates of medical PTSD, "with 35% of ICU survivors having clinically significant PTSD symptoms 2 years subsequent to the ICU care," according to Michigan Medicine's department of psychiatry.

In addition, a group of 24 international mental health experts worry that the severe acute respiratory syndrome that occurs in some patients with Covid-19 could infect the brain or trigger immune responses that are detrimental to brain function and mental health in patients. The experts expressed their concerns in a paper published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal in April.

"PTSD, which appears to be common among people who have been hospitalized with Covid-19, remains an underdiagnosed, undertreated, and under researched mental health condition, yet it can have serious long-term consequences," said senior author Vasiliki Orgeta, an associate professor in the division of psychiatry at University College London, in a statement.

"Our study provides important new evidence of how traumatic experiences can impact brain health, and how the long-term effects of trauma may impact the brain in many ways increasing vulnerability to cognitive decline and dementia," Orgeta said.

"I am not shocked at all that the most severe levels of stress, post traumatic stress disorder, is associated with dementia," said neurologist Dr. Richard Isaacson, founder of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical Center, who was not involved in the study.

"In the last decade or so, there's just been an explosion of evidence that stress is absolutely as important as a risk factor for so many chronic medical conditions from Alzheimer's to diabetes and heart disease," Isaacson said.

Twice the risk for non-military

Calling the research "the first meta-analysis of global evidence on PTSD and dementia risk," the study looked at data on nearly 17 million people from 13 studies done on four continents.

People with PTSD faced a 1% to 2% higher risk of dementia up to 17 years later, according to pooled data from eight of the studies.

And it wasn't military veterans who were at highest risk. People with PTSD in the general population -- possibly from physical or sexual abuse, threat of death, car accidents, terrorism or other trauma -- were more than twice as likely to develop dementia than adults with no such diagnosis.

Veterans with PTSD were one and half times more likely to develop dementia than vets without PTSD.

Between seven or eight of every 100 people will experience PTSD in their lifetime, according to the National Center for PTSD, a program of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Women are more likely than men to develop PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, in which a person relives the traumatic event in some manner, and include physical symptoms such as a racing heart or sweating. Reoccurring memories or nightmares are also a sign.

People with PTSD will also try to avoid thoughts or feelings related to the trauma, and they can often change their behavior to stay away from people, places or objects that are reminders of the experience.

Cognition and emotional behavior can change with PTSD -- having negative or distorted thoughts, having trouble concentrating or remembering, losing interest in activities, feeling isolated and being unable to feel happiness are all common for people with the disorder.

A heightened state of arousal is another key sign. Symptoms include being easily startled, feeling on guard or irritable, behaving in risky or destructive ways or having angry and aggressive outbursts.

It's not entirely clear why PTSD would bring on dementia, but many of the symptoms of the disorder, such as hypervigilance and re-experiencing the trauma would certainly put the brain on high alert, flooding it with stress hormones, the study suggested.

And since resilience from PTSD is associated with social support and more positive thinking, becoming moody and isolated from family and friends may "reduce cognitive reserve and resilience," the study said.

"Is post traumatic stress disorder a modifiable risk factor? I would say yes," Isaccson said. "If we can recognize it, we can mitigate it with stress reduction techniques, with seeing qualified medical professionals, by using pharmacologic and non pharmacological treatments, by seeing a psychiatrist or seeing a therapist. We also need more research on how to minimize stress in order to protect brain health over time."

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Schools district tracker reported Monday that in 14 days there were only 49.2 positive cases... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 8:34:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – College football season is back and the Missouri Tigers will take on Alabama this Saturday. In-person attendance... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 6:48:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in Sports
COLUMBIA - Trash and recycling workers urged Columbia City Council during Monday night's meeting to consider the staffing shortages and... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 6:23:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - It's been several weeks since the University of Missouri semester began. Several MU students said they haven't been... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 5:52:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Rock Bridge Hy-Vee had a drive-thru event for the community Tuesday, where anyone could come and pick... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 5:42:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri Head Football Coach Eli Drinkwitz confirmed seven players will be out for Saturday's game due to COVID-19... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 5:38:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in Sports
(CNN) -- Vanessa Bryant is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Alex Villanueva for a photo leak... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 5:03:57 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- There are more than 900,000 Missouri residents who experience a mental illness each year, including nearly 200,000 who experience... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:26:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
MISSOURI - There's a new phone scam making waves, and the FBI wants the public to be in the know.... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:24:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 7 a.m., Ameren Missouri will repair a leak on a gas main under... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:00:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County downgraded from the red zone in the latest White House COVID-19 Task Force report, while eight... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 2:45:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
CENTRALIA - The Centralia Public School District began providing all students and community members 18-years-old or younger with free breakfast... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 2:43:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - One would think Uber and Lyft drivers’ pockets would hurt a little bit from Boone County’s alcohol restrictions,... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 2:17:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
MISSOURI- As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. The... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 1:00:00 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- NBA legend Michael Jordan will be trying his hand at a new sport soon, NASCAR. Jordan and... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 12:12:47 PM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- What happened today seemed impossible to many Americans six months ago. When Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted in... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:57:00 AM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Missouri candidates for governor will participate in a forum at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, sponsored by the Missouri... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:15:00 AM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Previous coverage: ... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, September 22 2020 Sep 22, 2020 Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:00:00 AM CDT September 22, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 67°
11pm 66°
12am 65°
1am 64°
2am 62°