Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 126, Issue 9, pp 1155–1161 | Cite as

Stress and Alzheimer’s disease

  • Claus M. EscherEmail author
  • Lena Sannemann
  • Frank Jessen
Psychiatry and Preclinical Psychiatric Studies - Review Article


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia worldwide. Due to demographic change in higher income countries and rising life expectancy in middle- and low-income countries, the prevalence of AD will increase significantly in the coming years. In the search for effective AD prevention, the role of stress in the development of AD has come into focus. There is increasing evidence that chronic exposure to stress is a risk factor for AD and may also adversely affect the course of the disease. In our review, we present the current literature on the association of specific personality traits and the risk of developing AD. We also report on findings on dementia risk in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, we describe the role of anxiety symptoms in AD and give a brief overview over the biological mechanisms behind the association of stress and AD.


Alzheimer’s disease Neuroticism Posttraumatic stress disorder Anxiety Cortisol 



This research did not receive any specific Grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

F.J. reports Grant support from Eli Lilly, and personal fees for consultancy from Eli Lilly, Roche, Merck, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Biogen, Danone and AC Immune. All other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.German Center for neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)BonnGermany

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