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    PTSD and later dementia may be connected

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD can have severe, long term effects on people’s health, according to a new study. Researchers have found a connection between PTSD and dementia later on in life.

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD can have severe, long term effects on people’s health, according to a new study. Researchers have found a connection between PTSD and dementia later on in life.

    Researchers studied more than 10,000 veterans over the age of 65, and found that those who had post-traumatic stress were twice as likely to develop dementia later on in life than their peers who didn’t have PTSD. The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

    Joseph Boscarino of Geisinger Health system in central Pennsylvania was not part of this study, but has researched the health effects of PTSD for decades. He says people who suffer from post-traumatic stress are also more likely to develop heart disease, obesity, and substance abuse. Given the number of new veterans diagnosed with PTSD, he worries about future implications:

    Boscarino: The evidence seems to suggest that there might be a tsunami of morbidity and mortality of folks who are exposed to PTSD, the question is – how do we address it.”

    David Yusko from University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety says there are several effective treatments for post-traumatic stress, and the findings illustrate the importance of people seeking help:

    Yusko: There’s even a greater need now to seek out treatment after a trauma, and getting the word out that these therapeutic interventions are effective and do work is some of the most important work we can do right now.

    Researchers say there is not enough evidence yet to explain a connection between post traumatic stress and dementia. One potential reason is that PTSD affects the same areas of the brain as dementia. Some scientists say people suffering from post-traumatic stress often lead unhealthy lives that might contribute to their risk for dementia.

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