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New Study Establishes Link Between Stress and Short-Term Memory Loss


New Study Establishes Link Between Stress and Short-Term Memory Loss

Author: Shernide Delva

It seems like not a day goes back that a new study reveals the negative implications that stress has on the body. Today is not any different. For the first time, a study has established a link between short-term memory and prolonged stress. According to the study, sustained stress erodes the memory and weakens the immune system which all contributes to cognitive impairment.

Stress is a normal part of life, however learning how to control your stress can be life-saving. In case you were not aware, here is a list of the following health issues already associated with high levels of stress:

  • Heart disease- Emotional stress can trigger serious cardiac problems like heart attack. Those who already have heart issues should avoid acute stress as much as possible.
  • Studies have shown that stress can worsen symptoms of asthma. Even parental stress has been shown to affect young children. The kids who have stressed parents had a higher risk of developing asthma.
  • Diabetes-Stress can worsen diabetes by increasing glucose levels or increasing unhealthy behaviors such as lack of healthy eating and exercises
  • Headaches– Stress can exacerbate headaches and migraines. Stress is actually the most common trigger for headaches.
  • Depression and anxiety- Chronic stress is associated with higher rates of depression and anxiety. In fact, those who have demanding high stress jobs are shown to have an 80% higher risk of developing stress than those with lower risk occupations.
  • Accelerated aging – Who wants to look older when they are actually young? If you are stressed, you tend to look older. A study on new mothers found that those who were caring for chronically ill newborns showed accelerated aging compared to those who had healthy children. Stress seemed to accelerate aging about 9 to 17 additional years!

Researchers from Ohio State University have discovered that sustained stress has all sorts of negative side effects such as cognitive impairment and detrimental effects on the immune system. The study was conducted on mice and the results could lead into better treatment options.

“This is chronic stress. It’s not just the stress of giving a talk or meeting someone new,” said lead researcher Jonathan Godbout, associate professor of neuroscience at Ohio State.

For the first time ever, we have a study that establishes a relationship between short-term memory and prolonged stress. Scientists found they mice who were exposed to an aggressive intruder had a hard time recalling where the escape hole was in a maze they had mastered prior to the stressful period.

This is the first study of its kind to establish the relationship between short-term memory and prolonged stress. In the case of the mice, that meant repeat visits from a larger, nasty intruder mouse.

“The stressed mice didn’t recall it. The mice that weren’t stressed, they really remembered it,” Godbout said.

In addition to not remembering the escape hole, the mice had measurable changes in their brain due to the stress. They suffered inflammation brought on by the immune system. This reaction as associated with the presence of immune cells called macrophages which further put stress upon the brain of the stressed mice.

Now, researchers at Ohio State plan to uncover the secret behind stress and cognitive mood problems. There goals are to uncover ways to help those who are anxious, depressed, and suffer from lasting problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

When it comes to addiction, stress and trauma plays a huge role in why people relapse. That is why this new study is so critical for addiction treatment. Understanding new, innovative ways to approach treating past trauma can help those struggling have a better understanding of their behaviors. If you are struggling with addiction, find a treatment center that is working to fully understand your needs.

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