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Study: Anxiety, jealousy could put women at higher risk for Alzheimer's

A new study suggests that women who experience jealousy or moodiness may be at greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that women who are "anxious, jealous, or moody and distressed in middle age" may be more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease in later life. The study, published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, looked at 800 female participants for 38 years to reach its results.

The researchers gave the women personality tests about their "level of neuroticism and extraversion or introversion" and their stress levels. The suggested factors for neuroticism included worrying, jealousy, and moodiness, in addition to feeling anxiety and depression. The women were also given memory tests as part of the study.

Nineteen percent of the participants developed dementia over time, and the researchers found that the women who reported the highest levels of neuroticism had a doubled risk of developing dementia compared with those who reported being the least neurotic.

"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 said in a statement. "Personality may influence the individual's risk for dementia through its effect on behavior, lifestyle or reactions to stress."

Of course, the study's conclusions are dependent on the fact that women self-reported true information about their personalities, and more research is needed to confirm the effect of personality on Alzheimer's disease. Still, the study serves as a good reminder to de-stress — it could save your long-term health.