How Does This Work?

PTSD May Nearly Double Dementia Risk
How is it that mere PTSD actually doubles your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease? Doesn’t make sense to me.
I am not aware that depression ups the risk, and I am fairly certain that anxiety disorders do not up the risk either. In fact, neurotics may even live longer than their extroverted brethren, due to the extreme caution of introverts (most neurotics are introverts) and the lack of caution displayed by those happy go lucky people people. I am not even aware that schizophrenia or manic depression ups Alzheimer’s risk.
So what’s with PTSD?
PTSD is one nasty illness. One thing is that these folks typically can’t sleep much at all. They sleep terribly, wake up all the time, they’re just miserable. It’s possible that just not getting a good night’s sleep damages your brain after a while. I have seen studies of PTSD folks who had reduced hippocampal volume. In a word, the PTSD had damaged their hippocampuses. The hippocampus is involved in memory.
Ok, so how does that lead to Alzheimer’s? I don’t get it, but the data looks pretty good.
On the plus side, you will forget that you have PTSD. Haha.

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2 thoughts on “How Does This Work?”

  1. When medical findings say ‘X doubles your risk for Y,” it is not meant in a causal sense. These results are typically based on regressions stats and just means that the odds of have Alzheimer’s is X% greater for those with PSTD then those without, which could be causally based but also the result of a common risk factor.
    So, for example, Alzheimer’s often involves some protein derangement (like alpha-synuclien) and maybe this is also involved in a number of cases of PSTD. You could imagine PSTD being the first symptom in a neural pathology that later manifests as Alzheimer, like depression can be a symptom for Parkinsons — ie both being do to dopa degeneration. ect.
    The interesting thing should be more that what has previously been classified as more or less psychological/psychiatric issue is now being shown to be neurological; its like how various forms of schizophrenia are now seen as resulting from encephalitis — so next time, I guess, if someone has such a condition you shouldn’t say: ‘Its just in your mind!’ But rather to hedge your bet: ‘Its just in your head (ie brain)’!

  2. There’s a theory that Alzheimer’s people are different than others from birth, and that it just doesnt show any symptoms until old age. It may be that these people are more likely to develop PTSD after an accident.

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