London: According to researchers, a stressful lifestyle can lead to Alzheimer`s disease.In a mice study, they found that chronic stress sends levels of steroids in the brain soaring. This not only accelerates the development of Alzheimer`s but also boosts levels of the toxic plaque amyloid beta, which can ravage the brain, the Daily Express reported.Stress steroids could affect the brain`s general activity, said Sara Bengtsson, of Sweden`s Umea University.Chronically elevated levels of one in particular, called allopregnanolone, accelerated the disease development in research involving mice, she stated.When levels of the steroid were increased, the mice with Alzheimer`s developed impaired learning and memory. They also developed increased brain levels of amyloid beta, the proteins that form devastating plaques in Alzheimer`s disease, the researchers found.The study also showed that high levels of these amyloids were directly linked to the dysfunction in brain synapses, the connections between nerve cells.It is the loss of synapses that brings about memory loss, mood swings and communication problems in those suffering from Alzheimer`s.The high amyloid levels and synapse abnormality were seen after a short period of chronically elevated levels of allopregnanolone but not after a placebo treatment.The effects were also identified early in the disease development when the animals` memory function would usually be intact.
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