Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Alzheimer's effect on caregivers

New research published in the Journal of Immunology suggests that the strain of looking after someone with Alzheimer's disease could shorten caregiver's lives by between four to eight years. Researchers from Ohio State University looked at telomeres, areas of genetic material at the ends of a cell's chromosome which deteriorate with age. They compared a group of people looking after Alzheimer's sufferers with a control group matched for age, gender, social class etc. The caregivers' telomeres were four to eight years 'older' than the control group and the caregivers also had higher levels of depression and fewer lymphocytes (which play an important part in the immune system) than the control group.

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