19815 Bay Branch Rd
Andalusia, Alabama 36420
(334) 222-2523
HELPLINE: 1-877-530-0002



SCAMHC is an approved Mental Health site for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment program.  Find out the program details and see if you qualify by visiting: http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/

SCAMHC is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer and maintains a Drug-Free Workplace.

SCAMHC serves all individuals regardless of inability to pay. Discounts for essential services are offered based on family size and income. For more information, contact (334) 222-2523 or our 24/7 Helpline at 1-877-530-0002.



powered by centersite dot net
Alzheimers Disease and other Cognitive Disorders
Basic Information
Introduction & Causes of Cognitive DisordersDementiaAlzheimer's DiseaseOther Cognitive DisordersDementia Coping Skills & Behavior ManagementTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Conclusion and Resources
More InformationLatest News
Many Blacks, Hispanics Believe They'll Get Worse Care If Dementia StrikesAlzheimer's May Strike Women and Men in Different WaysHistory of Mental Illness Tied to Earlier Onset of Alzheimer's DiseaseAHA News: Black, Hispanic Families Hit Hardest by DementiaWhy Some 'Super Ager' Folks Keep Their Minds Dementia-FreeDementia Seen in Younger Adults Shows Even More Brain Damage Than Alzheimer'sToo Little Sleep Could Raise Your Dementia RiskSpecialist Care for Alzheimer's Is Tough to Find for Poorer, Rural AmericansTony Bennett's Struggle With Alzheimer's RevealedFluid-Filled Spaces in the Brain Linked to Worsening MemoryCOVID Vaccine Advised for Alzheimer's Patients, Their CaregiversAphasia Affects Brain Similar to Alzheimer's, But Without Memory LossCaregivers Feeling the Strain This Tough Holiday SeasonYears Before Diagnosis, People With Alzheimer's Lose Financial AcumenCould Dirty Air Help Speed Alzheimer's?Strong Sleeping Pills Tied to Falls, Fractures in Dementia PatientsAnxiety Might Speed Alzheimer's: StudyPre-Op 'Brain Games' Might Prevent Post-Op DeliriumDoes Hard Work Help Preserve the Brain?Staying Active as You Age Not a Guarantee Against DementiaSmog Tied to Raised Risk for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's DiseasePoor Brain Blood Flow Might Spur 'Tangles' of Alzheimer'sIs Apathy an Early Sign of Dementia?A-Fib Treatment Reduces Patients' Dementia RiskFall Risk Rises Even in Alzheimer's Early StagesPTSD May Be Tied to Greater Dementia RiskNew Research Links Another Gene to Alzheimer's RiskIs Rural Appalachia a Hotspot for Alzheimer's?Why Are Dementia Patients Getting Risky Psychiatric Drugs?Get Dizzy When Standing Up? It Could Be Risk Factor for DementiaCan Seniors Handle Results of Alzheimer's Risk Tests?More Education May Slow Start of Early-Onset Alzheimer'sUnder 50 and Overweight? Your Odds for Dementia Later May RiseBlood Test Heralds New Era in Alzheimer's Diagnosis9/11 First Responders Have Higher Odds for Alzheimer's: StudyCould the Flu Shot Lower Your Risk for Alzheimer's?Will Your Brain Stay Sharp Into Your 90s? Certain Factors Are KeyResearchers Zero in on Alzheimer's Disease Risk FactorsMany Americans With Dementia Live in Homes With GunsBrain's Iron Stores May Be Key to Alzheimer'sHormones May Explain Greater Prevalence of Alzheimer's in WomenMiddle-Age Obesity Linked to Higher Odds for DementiaCould Crohn's, Colitis Raise Dementia Risk?5 Healthy Steps to Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer'sCOVID-19 Brings New Challenges to Alzheimer's CaregivingAlzheimer's Gene Linked to Severe COVID-19 RiskHealthier Heart, Better Brain in Old AgeAHA News: Hearing Loss and the Connection to Alzheimer's Disease, DementiaBrain Plaques Signal Alzheimer's Even Before Other Symptoms Emerge: StudyCertain Gene Might Help Shield At-Risk People From Alzheimer's
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Aging & Geriatrics
Memory Problems
Elder Care

Anxiety Might Speed Alzheimer's: Study

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Nov 24th 2020

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Nov. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults with memory problems may progress to Alzheimer's more quickly if they are also suffering from anxiety symptoms, a preliminary study suggests.

It's common for people with Alzheimer's disease to have mood symptoms, including anxiety and depression. And some research has suggested those symptoms can, in older people, act as early indicators of the dementia process.

The new study focused on 339 patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment -- persistent problems with memory and thinking skills that can progress to full-blown dementia.

But progression is not guaranteed, and people vary in how quickly their mental functioning declines.

There's no way to predict how things will go for any one person, said Dr. Maria Vittoria Spampinato, senior author on the study.

But researchers are trying to figure out whether certain factors are linked to the speed of progression. The new findings suggest anxiety might be one, according to Spampinato, a professor of radiology at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Her team found that patients with more anxiety symptoms at the outset were more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease over the next several years, compared to those with few symptoms.

Does that mean anxiety speeds up the dementia process? Not necessarily, according to Mary Sano, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Instead, anxiety is likely another symptom of the underlying brain disease, said Sano, who was not involved in the study.

She doubted that treating anxiety in someone with mild cognitive impairment would "change the underlying biology" of the dementia process.

Still, Sano said, recognizing anxiety in those patients is still important. For one, it might serve as a red flag that someone is at risk of more rapid decline.

That's key, Sano said, partly because anxiety symptoms are easy to measure. In this study, some other factors were linked to faster progression -- including shrinkage in certain brain areas. But that can only be gauged with a brain MRI.

Plus, Sano said, helping people cope with anxiety should be a goal in its own right. "It's an important symptom to consider," she said.

The findings are based on a study of North American patients with mild cognitive impairment that involved memory problems. At the outset, all underwent anxiety and depression screening, MRI brain scans and blood tests.

Of 339 patients, 72 progressed to Alzheimer's over the next several years. Those with higher anxiety levels at the start tended to have a quicker progression -- as did patients with lower tissue volume in two brain areas involved in memory and learning.

Genes mattered, too: People carrying a gene variant linked to higher Alzheimer's risk -- ApoE4 -- also had a faster decline, compared to those with different variants.

Even with those other factors taken into account, though, anxiety was independently linked to a speedier progression, Spampinato said.

That alone, however, does not mean anxiety directly worsens cognitive problems.

"People living with mild cognitive impairment may experience anxiety, but what's unclear at this point is whether controlling or reducing anxiety may slow cognitive decline," said Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer's Association.

She agreed with Sano on the importance of recognizing anxiety regardless.

"For individuals living with mild cognitive impairment or dementia," Snyder said, "managing anxiety and stress is an important aspect of providing care."

The Alzheimer's Association recommends some steps for patients and families: Simplify daily routines, make the home environment calm, and regularly fit in pleasant activities -- such as taking walks, gardening and listening to music.

Talking to a health care provider is always an option, too, Sano said.

"Sometimes older folks can be hesitant to talk about anxiety and depression," she noted. "But I think that's a mistake."

The study is scheduled to be presented Monday at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting, being held online. Findings reported at meetings are generally considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The Alzheimer's Association has more on anxiety and agitation.

SOURCES: Maria Vittoria Spampinato, MD, professor, radiology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston; Mary Sano, PhD, professor, psychiatry, and director, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, New York City; Heather Snyder, PhD, vice president, medical and scientific operations, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; Radiological Society of North America, online meeting presentation, Nov. 30, 2020