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Jealousy Doubles Dementia Risk, Study

Update Date: Oct 01, 2014 10:18 PM EDT

Jealousy increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study on women.

The 40-year-old study revealed that women who are anxious, jealous or moody in middle age are more likely to develop the neurodegenerative disorder later in life.

"Most Alzheimer's research has been devoted to factors such as education, heart and blood risk factors, head trauma, family history and genetics," study author Lena Johannsson, PhD, of the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden, said in a news release. "Personality may influence the individual's risk for dementia through its effect on behavior, lifestyle or reactions to stress."

The latest study involved 800 women with an average age of 46 at the beginning of the study. Researchers said the women were followed for 38 years and asked to complete personality tests that looked at their level of neuroticism and extraversion or introversion, along with memory tests. Participants were also asked about how often they experienced stress, referring to feelings of irritability, tension, nervousness, fear, anxiety or sleep disturbances. Participants were asked to rate their feelings from zero to five.

The findings show that women who scored the highest on the tests for neuroticism were twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those who scored lowest on the tests.

The findings were published Oct. 1 in the online issue of the journal Neurology.

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