Toggle Menu
  1. Home/
  2. Life/
  3. Health/

Stressful life experiences might age your brain by four years, according to study

Certain life experiences have the power to age the brain by at least four years, as a new study reveals.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in America discovered 27 stressful events that might lead to poorer cognitive function later in life. Those who experience one major stressful event early in life are likely to have their brain’s health impacted, as the Independent reports.

For the study, 1,320 people who underwent a series of neurological tests that examined several areas, including memory, were observed. Out of all the participants, 1,232 were white and 82 were African American. The average age was 58 and all of them reported having suffered stressful experiences throughout their lives. African Americans experience around 60% more stressful events than white people.


“We know that prolonged stress can have an impact on our health, so it’s no surprise that this study indicates stressful life events may also affect our memory and thinking abilities later in life,” Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said. “However, it remains to be established whether these stressful life events can lead to an increased risk of dementia.”

The 27 stressful life events identified by researchers are:

  1. Repeating a year of school
  2. Being sent away from home for doing something wrong
  3. Father or mother unemployed
  4. One or both parents abusing alcohol
  5. One or both parents abusing drugs
  6. Dropping out of school
  7. Getting expelled or suspended from school
  8. Failing at school or higher education
  9. Getting fired
  10. Being unemployed for a long period
  11. Losing a parent
  12. Parents getting divorced
  13. Spouse or partner having an affair
  14. Significant difficulties with in-laws
  15. Losing a sibling
  16. Losing a child
  17. Having a child experience a life-threating injury
  18. Losing your home to fire, flood or natural disaster
  19. Physically assaulted or attacked
  20. Sexual assault
  21. Serious legal difficulties
  22. Being sent to prison
  23. Declaring bankruptcy
  24. Suffering financial loss or loss of property
  25. Going on benefits
  26. Entering the armed forces
  27. Experiencing combat

Daisy Wilder