Narrator: This is Science Today. New research led by the University of California at Irvine indicates that stress hormones play a crucial role in the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Frank LaFerla, a professor of neurobiology and behavior, say their work with mice revealed that stress increased the build-up of plaques and tangles, lesions that are associated with Alzheimer's.
LaFerla: So what was remarkable was that these stress hormones were able to lead to this market build-up of the plaques and tangles in these mice at ages when they typically don't have these kind of lesions in their brain. And this build-up occurred over a very short time period of about seven days. So it suggests that stress could be a major risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Narrator: These findings suggest that managing stress and reducing certain medications prescribed for the elderly could slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease, which affects up to five million Americans every year. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin .