Monday, January 19, 2009

Stress can drive you nuts


Socially active people who were not easily stressed had a 50 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared with men and women who were isolated and prone to distress.

"In the past, studies have shown that chronic distress can affect parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, possibly leading to dementia," Hui-Xin Wang of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who led the study, said in a statement.

An estimated 24 million people worldwide have the memory loss, problems with orientation and other symptoms that signal Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Researchers believe the number of people with dementia may quadruple by 2040, underlining the importance of better understanding the condition.

Reuters: Stress can drive you nuts


Chronic stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder share the same path way to the hippocampus which affects memory and moods.

Excerpts from Wikipedia on PTSD's impact on neuroanatomy:

In addition to biochemical changes, PTSD also involves changes in brain morphology. In a study by Gurvits et al., Combat veterans of the Vietnam war with PTSD showed a 20% reduction in the volume of their hippocampus compared with veterans who suffered no such symptoms.

In human studies, the amygdala has been shown to be strongly involved in the formation of emotional memories, especially fear-related memories. Neuroimaging studies in humans have revealed both morphological and functional aspects of PTSD.

The amygdalocentric model of PTSD proposes that it is associated with hyperarousal of the amygdala and insufficient top-down control by the medial prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. Further animal and clinical research into the amygdala and fear conditioning may suggest additional treatments for the condition.

Wikipedia: Hippocampus

Wikipedia: Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA)

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