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Stress hormone associated with brain shrinkage and poorer memory: study



Cortisol is a known stress hormone in the body that is responsible for the fight or flight response. New research has now shown that it can also be associated with poorer memory and shrinkage of the brain before the age of 50 years. ( Pixabay )

Researchers of a new study have found that stress can lead to memory impairment brain volume. The results of the study emphasize the importance of stress reduction.

Poor Memory and Decreased Brain Volume

In a new study, a research team identified more than 2,000 people with a median age of 49 years from the Framingham Heart Study government, all of whom have no dementia

At the beginning of the study, all 2,231

passed through Participants completed a series of psychological tests and tests for thinking and memory skills and were retested after eight years. At the end of the study, they also provided blood samples and had MRI scans.

Researchers found that those with higher levels of cortisol, a known stress hormone, had lower memory and thinking scores than those with normal cortisol levels. In addition, they also associated higher cortisol levels with a lower total brain volume.

The researchers found that memory loss and brain shrinkage were observed in relatively younger adults until mid-adult, long before symptoms were seen, with associations more visible in women than in men

Stress hormones

Cortisol is a major stress hormone in the body human body typically associated with the "fight or flight" response. The adrenal glands produce more cortisol when they are on high alert and normalize again when the danger or crisis is over. This is the body's survival route by shutting down the systems that can affect high-alert survival and then normalize it.

However, the problem begins when the body's stress response lasts longer and can lead to problems such as depression, sleep disorders, weight gain, headaches, anxiety, and memory and concentration problems.

According to experts, the brain is particularly sensitive to such changes due to the amounts of nutrients and oxygen it needs to function properly. As the body spends more resources on dealing with stress, fewer resources go to the brain.

Reduce stress

The researchers do not say that stress causes brain damage, but merely reveal the associations between brain function and stress. Further studies are needed to fully understand the relationship between cortisol and brain function, but researchers suggest making lifestyle changes to relieve stress.

"It's important for people to find ways to reduce stress," said Justin B. Echoufo-Tcheugui lead author of the study, noting that this can be done using a variety of methods, such as exercise and relaxation techniques.

The study is published in the journal Neurology .

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