Stress Hormones mediated by the Built Environment: A possibility to influence the progress of Alzheimer's Disease?

Lars Brorson Fich, Mattias Wallergård, Åse Marie Hansen, Peter Jönsson

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Due to the aging society, dementia is one of the major challenges to the health care systems all over the world. The growing number of patients, the long process and intensive need for care, especially in the later stages of the disease, make the growth in human as well as socioeconomic costs huge. The development of design strategies for nursing homes and other health care facilities such as day care centers addressing the needs of dementia patients is therefore very important. The vast majority of dementia cases is Alzheimer’s Disease, representing approximately 70% of all cases. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that starts in the hippocampus structure in the brain’s limbic system. The hippocampus has three interconnected functions; it holds the cognitive
map we use for way-finding, it creates new memories and it forms part of the feedback mechanism that controls the stress hormone cortisol. In the early stages of the disease, the impairment of way-finding and memory is particularly evident. These symptoms are therefore most often prioritized in design proposals and guidelines for AD patients. However, in this paper we argue that perhaps the most important impairment to address is the weakening of the hippocampus’ function in the stress system, as the lack of control of cortisol levels during stress can lead to further degradation of the hippocampus. We refer to a stress experiment suggesting that is possible through the built environment to influence the release of cortisol during stress. This again suggests that the design of e.g. nursing homes can contribute to a slower development of AD in its early stages
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationARCH 17 : 3RD International Conference on Architecture, Research, Care and Helath; Coference Proceedings
EditorsNanet Mathiasen, Anne Kathrine Frandsen
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
PublisherPolyteknisk Boghandel og Forlag
Publication date2017
Pages150-162
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-93585-00-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event ARCH17 - The 3rd International Conference on Architecture, Research, Care and Health: 3rd international conference on architecture, research, care and health - Aalborg Universitet, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, København, Denmark
Duration: 26 Apr 201727 Apr 2017
Conference number: 3
http://www.arch17.aau.dk
http://www.arch17.aau.dk/

Conference

Conference ARCH17 - The 3rd International Conference on Architecture, Research, Care and Health
Number3
LocationAalborg Universitet, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityKøbenhavn
Period26/04/201727/04/2017
Internet address

Keywords

  • Stress
  • cortisol
  • architecture
  • The Built Environment
  • Alzheimer Disease

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