Forget Where Your Glasses Are? Even Teens May Do This, Today

Depressed? Don't exercise much?  Have high blood pressure?  A new study has found that, even if you're just18, your memory could start failing.  Even worse, it may put you at higher risk for Alzheimer's later in life.

UCLA researchers and the Gallup organization polled more than 18,000 people about their memory and a variety of lifestyle and health factors previously shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to newswise.com. They found that many of these risk factors increased the likelihood of self-perceived memory complaints across all adult age groups.

If you have high blood pressure, you're at even greater risk. New research suggests that high blood pressure in middle age plays a critical role in whether blood pressure in old age may affect memory and thinking.

Risk factors in the population studied -- people ages 18-99 -- included depression, lower education levels, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and smoking.

"In this study, for the first time, we determined these risk factors may also be indicative of early memory complaints, which are often precursors to more significant memory decline later in life," said Dr. Gary Small, UCLA’s Parlow–Solomon Professor on Aging and director of the UCLA Longevity Center, who is also a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

Depression, low levels of education, physical inactivity and high blood pressure increased the likelihood of memory complaints in younger adults (ages 18–39), middle-aged adults (40–59) and older adults (60–99), the researchers found. Depression was the strongest single risk factor for memory complaints in all age groups.

Having just one risk factor significantly increased the frequency of memory complaints, regardless of age, according to researchers. Memory complaints rose when the number of risk factors increased.

Overall, 20 percent of those polled had memory complaints, including 14 percent of younger adults, 22 percent of middle-aged adults and 26 percent of older adults.

The researchers noted that, in general, memory issues in younger people may be different from those in older individuals. For younger adults, stress may play more of a role, and the prevalence of technology — including the Internet and wireless devices, which can often result in constant multi-tasking — may impact their attention span, making it harder to focus and remember.

"We hope that our findings will raise awareness among researchers, health care providers and the general public about the importance of lowering these risk factors at any age, such as getting screened and treated for depression and high blood pressure, exercising more and furthering one’s education," said Dr. Stephen Chen, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute and the first author of the study.

So, take some courses and get that high blood pressure treated -- if you want to remember where your glasses are, at 40.






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