Sadness Brings Dementia—New Study Gives Hope

Research now suggests that if you’re happy you shouldn’t develop dementia.

In a recent Johns Hopkins study researchers looked at brain scans of people with mild loss of thought and memory ability. They reported evidence of lower levels of serotonin transporters — a natural brain chemical that regulates mood, sleep and appetite.

A report on the study, published in the September’s issue of Neurobiology of Disease, suggests that finding ways to prevent the loss of serotonin or introducing a substitute neurotransmitter could slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s and possibly other dementias.

“Now that we have more evidence that serotonin is a chemical that appears affected early in cognitive decline, we suspect that increasing serotonin function in the brain could prevent memory loss from getting worse and slow disease progression,” says Gwenn Smith, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Case in point: Mr. and Mrs. P.

Married (happy) over 40 years

Mrs. P unexpectedly passed away from heart failure.

In less than 4 years of his wife passing, Mr. P was in Stage 3 dementia

And passed away 4 years after diagnosis

Credit: Gwenn Smith labThis brain scan shows decreased serotonin transporters (blue) in the whole mild cognitive impairment group compared to the whole healthy control group.



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