Stress And Learned Helplessness May Be The Main Cause Of Dementia

Discussion in 'Scientific Studies' started by haidut, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. haidut

    haidut Member

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    A great study showing that controlling for factors such as sex, marital status, lower educational level, lifestyle factors, existing chronic and acute disease, substance abuse, etc did NOT change dementia risk. The only thing that correlated (likely causatively) with risk of dementia (e.g. Alzheimer disease) was level of psychological stress. And what was the cause of this psychological stress? Failure to adapt, driven by perception of "unsolvable problems". In Peat-speak that translates to "learned helplessness" resulting in energetic deficiency and the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAD) of Selye.
    So, there it is in plain view - Alzheimer disease (AD) may be nothing more than the response to chronic insurmountable stress. No need to invoke viruses or other mysterious pathogens, which is very fashionable lately.

    Psychological distress is a risk factor for dementia
    "...A new study suggests that vital exhaustion - which can be perceived as an indicator of psychological distress - is a risk factor for future risk of dementia. Researchers from the Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen have, in collaboration with the National Research Centre for the Working Environment, and the Danish Dementia Research Centre, shown that being distressed in late midlife is associated with a higher risk of dementia in later life. The findings contribute to our understanding of psychological distress as an important risk factor that should receive more focus when considering prevention initiatives in relation to later dementia. Psychological distress can be defined as a state of emotional suffering sometimes accompanied by somatic symptoms. Vital exhaustion is operationalized as feelings of unusual fatigue, increased irritability and demoralization and can be considered an indicator of psychological distress. Vital exhaustion is suggested to be a response to unsolvable problems in individuals' lives, in particular when being incapable of adapting to prolonged exposure to stressors. The physiological stress response, including cardiovascular changes and excessive production of cortisol over a prolonged period, may serve as the mechanism linking psychological distress with an increased risk of dementia. Sabrina Islamoska, Ph.D. student from the Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, has shown a dose-response relation between symptoms of vital exhaustion reported in late midlife and the risk of dementia later in life. Islamoska explains: "For each additional symptom of vital exhaustion, we found that the risk of dementia rose by 2%. Participants reporting 5 to 9 symptoms had a 25% higher risk of dementia than those with no symptoms, while those reporting 10 to 17 symptoms had a 40% higher risk of dementia compared with not having symptoms."

    "..."We were particularly concerned whether the symptoms of vital exhaustion would be an early sign of dementia. Yet, we found an association of the same magnitude even when separating the reporting of vital exhaustion and the dementia diagnoses with up to 20 years," Islamoska said. The results of this study supports that distress in late midlife may potentially increase the risk of dementia in later life. Despite adjusting for several other well-known risk factors for dementia, such as sex, marital status, lower educational level, lifestyle factors and comorbidities, the risk of dementia associated with vital exhaustion did not change."
     
  2. Vinero

    Vinero Member

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    I wouldn't rule out the pathogen-theory of causing diseases like alzheimer. I mean, chronic infection can cause chronic inescapable stress. If a person has an infectious pathogen inside their body it can cause a chronic increase of endotoxin and consequently estrogen, nitric oxide and serotonin. In other words, the mediators of stress like estrogen and serotonin might be elevated because of a pathogenic organism. In this case the stress can only be reduced/eliminated by eliminating the pathogen.
    But I think the other causes of stress like Stressful environment and hypothyroidism should be tried to fix first. If that doesn't work I would look at the infectious pathogen theory of causing diseases like alzheimer.
     
  3. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    If it was the infection causing this then controlling for other disease factors (which they did) would have skewed the risk. But it did not. They probably cannot control for every possible infection but a chronic infection would manifest in other ways, usually as insulin resistance, bone issues, muscle/tissue wasting, etc and they did control for some/most of these.
    But I hear your point, maybe the infection is latent and contributes to the pathology without being the main reason.
     
  4. ecstatichamster

    ecstatichamster Member

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    there is also a so-called study referenced in the one you posted, that you may have mentioned in the past @haidut that lack of control over work, and low cognitive demand at work, is correlated with dementia.

    It's a very weak paper, honestly, but it probably is true.

    https://www.researchgate.net/profil...ing-environment-on-cognition-and-dementia.pdf

    Relevant articles were identified by a systematic literature search in PubMed and PsycINFO using a standardised search string and specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. We included articles reporting longitudinal effects that were investigated in cohort studies, case–control studies or randomised controlled trials in the working population. Two independent reviewers evaluated the studies in three subsequent phases: (i) title–abstract screening, (ii) full-text screening and (iii) checklist-based quality assessment. Methodical evaluation of the identified articles resulted in 17 studies of adequate quality.

    We found evidence for a protective effect of high job control and high work complexity with people and data on the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

    Moreover, cognitively demanding work conditions seem to be associated with a decreased risk of cognitive deterioration in old age.Psychosocial work conditions can have an impact on cognitive functioning and even on the risk of dementia. As the world of work is undergoing fundamental changes, such as accelerated technological advances and an ageing working population, optimising work conditions is essential in order to promote and maintain cognitive abilities into old age.
     
  5. lampofred

    lampofred Member

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    Makes sense. Learned helplessness = high serotonin, and I think I read that Peat thinks high serotonin is implicated in virtually every neuro-degenerative disease
     
  6. Hairfedup

    Hairfedup Member

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    I've been saying this for the longest. In the thread about the 20-something who developed dementia, many went OTT on how bad his diet must've been. Lmao. As if he didn't have extreme psychological stress from a horrible family set up, narcissist mother etc. The psychology drives the physiology. Why is this so hard for people to accept?
     
  7. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    I think the key statement in that paper is the sense of being in control. A cognitively demanding job where you have no control over anything and are at the mercy of a tyrannical boss probably won't protect from dementia.
     
  8. ecstatichamster

    ecstatichamster Member

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    When people retire and quit working, often Dementia sets in.
     
  9. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    I think part of this refusal is that many people are themselves stuck in toxic relationships and try to avoid the realization of how important a factor in health that is. One survey found that 89% of people report that half to 2/3 of the people they know are in a toxic relationship of some sort. Doing a simplistic extrapolation from these numbers suggests that 50%+ of people are in a toxic relationship. Think about that for a minute. Half of all people around you are basically chronically under one of the most nefarious forms of stress. And it is usually not really the fault of the toxic person. Life has just gotten that much harder over the last 20-30 years. Serotonin from drugs and pointless lives has really taken hold in developed countries. Similar surveys form the 1960s and 1970s showed that while people back then also experienced stress it was not related to other people but more about fear of world events (nuclear war, disease epidemic, etc). Peat wrote in one of his recent newsletter that all studies over the last 10 years found a drastic decline in empathy among college students. Those young people basically treat the people around them at best with mild neglect like a stray dog, and at worst see them simply as always adversarial agents to be manipulated for personal gain and be afraid of.
    The Reason Most People Stay In Bad Relationships
    Are You In A Toxic Relationship? Study Says You Probably Are
     
  10. Regina

    Regina Member

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    I keep thinking about the specific use of the word "demoralization" in the study. It's profound. The toxic people now are those who could not shake off trauma and the perception of unsolvable problems. And therefore how this spreads so insidiously as the poor "de-moralized" people are stripped of their scruples.
     
  11. JanW55

    JanW55 Member

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    Had to chime in here on personal note (of case in immediate family) illustrating all this SO well.

    Woman of late middle age marries widower, then descends into major symptoms of Alzheimer disease out of the blue, suddenly, at same time as realizing marriage to miserly narcissist is a trap not turning out as expected (trap because religious views and social 'codes' prohibit divorce / getting out of it).

    Narcissist in question remains in fine shape mentally -- all the way to the end at age 92 (although in somewhat questionable shape physically) while being in complete (to the point of bragging triumphantly about it openly at times) "control" of the home situation PLUS on 3rd career -- never retired -- maintaining all kinds of highly cognitive work featuring controlling activity of paid and volunteer-work underlings.

    The dysfunctional family (mine mentioned here, and as a counseling degree Masters intern, fairly recently, I heard about a lot of other ones) and all kinds of topics discussed in this forum can be seen as intertwined/linked: genetic issues, physical swallowing/breathing/digestive/gut issues, anxiety disorders, autistic spectrum situations, depression and addictions, to name a few.

    One has to wonder if initial start-up, in infancy (in a family of origin with all those issues going on) generates the feelings of 'learned helplessness' as well as hosts of physical maladies from the get-go anyway.

    Plus, if as the psychodynamic counseling theories would have it, one grows up unconsciously 'reproducing' the original conditions from one's family of origin all around oneself (chaos, co-dependency, addictive/toxic unauthentic relationships, or whatever it was, really, good or bad or neutral) then it all gets 'transmitted' from one generation to the next physically and psychologically both.

    Cue the psycho-pharm industry to develop some Rx's and we're off to the races on making it all Much. Much. Worse...
     
  12. alywest

    alywest Member

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    I have noticed that since I've started taking some cyproheptadine, that I have been in a few situations where learned helplessness would have caused me to hide or shut down, but I pushed forward through the pain of the uncertainty and self-doubt. I think traumatic childhoods really do cause physiological issues which in turn reproduce the same situations over and over again, and we have learned that we can't do anything about it because as children we were helpless to really change anything. We were forced to live out a dynamic that unhealthy adults created for us, and then we repeat it for our children because we automatically turn to this "I can't deal with this" mindset or attitude. Instead of looking for a solution we teach our kids that it's too much and they see that and imitate it too, it's our nature to imitate and it's very hard to carve out a new pathway that differs from the past.
     
  13. Makrosky

    Makrosky Member

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    It is interesting...
    What would be more healthy job... a high-level scientist (high complexity) before a computer screen and under fluorescent lights all day...

    Or someone working outside in the sun and fresh air all day... (normally open-air jobs are low complexity).

    If I can choose I bet the second option is healthier.
     
  14. Regina

    Regina Member

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    Like the study said, perception of unsolvable problems. So, we are not "forced" but there is a strong pull. I think one has to develop a sensitivity to the dynamic and practice stepping out of it sooner. You see the red flags in a toxic situation. Develop trust in your intuition and change the condition. It's kinda like the leakiness of estrogenized cells. "Weak boundaries." But stable boundaries/cells are not all shields up and gunports. Learn to recognize a "doo doo test" for what it is. Don't past their test. Sometimes that's enough to de-escalate and set a really good tone. I'm getting better with contractors and their little tests. (ex.: on the phone they say 'about $300'. But after the repair, they say '$375'. Call 'em out). In my experience, the ones I called out give me the best service in the future.
     
  15. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Your health is basically the weighted average of the health of the last 3 generations of your ancestors (no genes involved, purely epigenetically) with more recent generations like parents having the most weight. That weighted average accounts for about 50% of your "health score". The other 50% are determined in the first 1,000 days since conception. Basically, during pregnancy and the first 2 years of life. But it is not a static state and as you grow older the life you live has bigger and bigger weight. By the time you are in your 50s, most of your health is determined by your own life and environment you lived in. So, the good news is that a being dealt a bad card by ancestors and abusive parents while young CAN be changed for the netter. The bad news is that it can go the other way too. If you were dealt a good epigenetic card but had shitty life, then your older years would suck.
    The latter is the situation I am seeing currently. The Millenials had a decent epigenetic "capital" coming into this world but from the moment they were born they entered a truly toxic realm. So, now we are seeing the consequences - young people in their 30s have the same health/disease as their parents had in their 50s, and their grandparents had in their 70s.
    Health Of Young People Has Declined Strongly In The Last 30 Years
    Stroke Rates Have Almost Doubled In Young Adults
    One In Four People Will Have Stroke At Least Once, Including People In Their 20s
    Breaking News: Colorectal Cancer Rates In Young People Have Doubled
    Rates Of Diabetes I And II Are Rapidly Rising In Young Children And Teens
    IQ Scores Have Been Dropping For Decades And The Reason Is NOT Genetic
    World IQ Scores Are Declining
    Sperm Count (Biomarker Of Male Health) In The West Has Declined By 60% Since The 1970s
    Remarkable Decline In Fertility - Half The World Below Replacement Levels
     
  16. Makrosky

    Makrosky Member

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    Captura de pantalla 2019-01-21 a las 18.01.19.png
    :wtf
     
  17. JanW55

    JanW55 Member

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    @haidut, Not to mention the increase of autism in children stats -- it is not just more recognition/diagnoses made these days, in my opinion!

    @alywest, absolutely! So important. Boundaries-setting is of the essence in everybody's personal life (easier said than done and NOT taught to children in public schools I take it).

    In dysfunctional cases, too: the narcissist may need (and probably refuse) counseling and dietary change suggestions or an Rx (which should be emergency last resort I think and temporary) but the best antidote for adult children of the narcissist is to say NO and stick with it.

    As a postscript to my earlier family story above, the explanation given by family members at the time for the Alzheimer's set-in was 'her father had "hardening of the arteries diagnosis and lost his memory so it's obviously hereditary" but looking back, I recall that the woman's father was hale and hearty, an active widower who lived alone in his 80s, and he ALSO suddenly descended into an Alzheimer's appearing condition coinciding with encountering the same narcissist who had just become engaged to his daughter!

    The stunned elderly guy first tried to fight back, so to speak, mainly through yelling a lot (to his daughter to NOT marry this person, as I understand it) and telephoning/writing letters to other relatives for support there, but then capitulated to allow for "family peace" and ended up GIVING the narcissist a small piece of property in his own front yard (this was out 'in the country') for the couple to build a house.

    Not too much later, he was fully Alzheimer's-ridden and under the narcissist's control to the point of said-same going over there at least twice a day to "check on him" -- this personal attention being lauded by other family members and worked in amongst all the never-retired, highly energetic narcissist's many daily work activities, driving about locally to agencies he worked with. That latter part was especially scary stuff since those agencies featured group homes he was trying to get into [the management of] to dominate/influence however he could as well.

    I will also mention that having started the psychology stuff in 1972, I was happy to see that the recent counseling textbooks are teaching, as 101-level coursework, 'self-awareness' (of the counselor-to-be) as well as 'what are, and setting, boundaries' and 'diversity / privilege' in terms of possible unawareness thereof , as being bias-inducing.

    So there is some progress made I guess, albeit slowly.

    A few steps forward, n, followed by n + x to the y steps back I think dismally sometimes (when the SIBO/histamine sets in), but let's keep our optimism going and maintain the educational efforts on all occasions I say!

    On the public-school K-12 education-front, as far as what may be going on, since decades ago, to shape society (and not very good news there it seems) I read a very interesting blog from time to time whose title involves Invisible Serf's Collar. (I don't know if I can post links yet being newly minted around this forum, but it's easily found and is a one-off standalone type effort by an attorney, I make it.)

    No www and no apostrophe there and you'll get to it. The saying / quote at the top is telling:
    "a group which desires to be strong has no use for the man who claims to think for himself."
     
  18. JanW55

    JanW55 Member

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    Sorry meant to say @Regina on the wonderful boundaries post comment and @alywest great post on awareness of and surmounting / pushing on through the knee-jerk automatic responses we were all fostered on in early years to 'go along, get along' or 'keep peace in our family' or however they put it.

    As @haidut mentions we can overcome that early 'stuff' by re-creating our reality in our own ways, and saying 'no' (my hardest lesson of all personally) is the essential first-step -- even just saying no to 'doing whatever the same way as before just because it's so difficult to say no' despite all those prior occasions getting undesired outcomes!! -jw
     
  19. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Forgot that one. Yes, none of it is simply increase in diagnosis. The world is awash in SSRI drugs and those alone can easily account for most of the autism cases. I think it is a crime against humanity to prescribe SSRI drugs to a pregnant woman, and now they are even approved for toddlers.
     
  20. alywest

    alywest Member

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    Thanks for that, I really like the analogy of the estrogenized cells! I was wondering if maybe our sense of intuition, or "gut instinct" as we tend to call it, is influenced by our gut serotonin. I have often felt like my intuition is right, but then I tend to question it, possibly due to the serotonin in the gut creating a dysfunction and causing me to second guess myself. So perhaps all of these things we are working on with supplements, etc. is really helping us to get through to our truer selves, allowing us to stop being influenced as strongly so we can start to recognize our own thoughts, needs, wants instead of being pulled as you put it!
     
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