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Defy Dementia Episode 10 – Reduce Your Stress for Brain Health

In this two-part special, Defy Dementia focuses on stress and caregiving. First, find out how stress can negatively affect brain health. Jay and Allison speak to “Zoe”, a 53-year-old who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder since being almost killed during a random attack, and Dr. William Malarkey (Ohio State University), an expert on stress and brain health. Then, the second episode focuses specifically on the stress of being a caregiver, and how this can increase dementia risk. Tune in to both episodes for practical advice to help you protect your brain today.


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Learn more about our guests

“Zoe” (name changed to preserve anonymity) is a 53-year-old with roots in the West Indies, who works as a social worker in Ontario. Zoe has worked in a group home, as a psychiatric orderly, and with people who are homeless, who are living with addiction, and who are living with dementia. She has designed wellness and therapy programs that use horticulture, music, sport, and community involvement. Zoe is using a pseudonym because she does not want her kids to find out that she was almost killed in a random attack. Before this event, Zoe found relief from stress through fitness. However, this new stress was overwhelming. Her doctor advised her to see a psychiatrist, who diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and provided therapy. Over time, with the help of therapy, going to the gym once again became Zoe’s release from stress.  

Dr. William Malarkey is an endocrinologist and researcher who investigates the effect of stress on the body, brain, and overall health. He is Associate Director at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR) at Ohio State University. The IBMR investigates psychoneuroimmunology, the study of how the brain interacts with the body's immune system, drawing on diverse research fields such as immunology, virology, psychiatry, psychology, endocrinology, molecular biology, behaviour, oncology, and the neurosciences. Dr. Malarkey is also Director of the Ohio State Clinical Research Center and Faculty Emeritus of the Department of Internal Medicine, also at Ohio State University. He also treats patients with immune and endocrine system disorders. He has been practicing medicine since 1965.