Increased plasma cortisol levels (correlated with increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity) may be associated with more rapid disease progression in Alzheimer-type dementia (AD). In a study conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Dr John Csernansky and colleagues assessed 33 patients with very mild or mild AD and 21 persons without AD annually for up to 4 years, using the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale and various neuropsychological tests. Plasma was obtained from each patient and assessed for cortisol level.
Women face greater challenges with Alzheimer disease than men. © Stillfx/Shutterstock
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