COLUMBUS , Ohio – The chronic stress that spouses and children develop while caring for Alzheimer's disease patients may shorten the caregivers' lives by as much as four to eight years, a new study suggests.
The research also provides concrete evidence that the effects of chronic stress can be seen both at the genetic and molecular level in chronic caregivers' bodies.
The findings, reported this month by researchers from Ohio State University and the federal National Institute of Aging, were published in the Journal of Immunology.
These are the latest results from a nearly three-decade-long program at Ohio State investigating the links between psychological stress and a weakened immune status. Previous studies have examined medical students, newlyweds, divorced spouses, widows, widowers and long-married couples, in each case, looking for physiological effects caused by psychological stress.
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