Could there be a link between stress and memory loss?
Jim Hanzo Reporting
A new study done suggests a stress hormone is linked to short-term memory loss as we age.
The hormone is cortisol and the study from University of Iowa reveals that having high levels of cortisol, a natural hormone in our body whose levels rise when we are stressed, can lead to memory lapses as we age.
Dr. Nicolas Bazan, professor and director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans agrees with the research.
"This hormone increases in our blood as we are exposed to stress," Dr. Bazan said. "So the message is stress and aging don't go well together when the stress is sustained."
He believes the study is important in Alzheimer's disease as well.
"I believe the study adds to the knowledge that we need, in order to be able to conquer this disease that has had such a tremendous and emotional impact on families and a huge burden on our health care system," noted Dr. Bazan.
Still researchers say it's important to remember that stress hormones are only one of a host of other factors when it comes to mental decline and memory loss in older adults.
"The study clearly shows that through cortisol, stress is a big factor, but I want to emphasize sustained stress, repetitive stress, cumulative stress," the doctor added.
(image credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes via flickr.com)