Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Memory loss link to early stress

Psychological stress early in life may lead to memory loss and mental decline in middle age, research suggests.
A study on rats suggests infant stress has a negative impact on the way brain cells communicate with each other.
The researchers believe parental loss, abuse or neglect may contribute to a type of memory loss in middle age more normally seen in the elderly.

The study, by the University of California, Irvine, features in the Journal of Neuroscience.
These studies point to the development of new, more effective ways to prevent cognitive impairment later in life Dr Tallie Baram
The California team highlighted problems in the signalling mechanism between cells in an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is known to play a key role in learning and memory.
Lead researcher Dr Tallie Baram said: "The loss of cognitive function later in life is probably a result of both genetic and environmental factors.
"While it is not yet possible to change a person's genetic background, it may be feasible to block the environmental effects, particularly of early life stress, on learning and memory later in life.
"These studies point to the development of new, more effective ways to prevent cognitive impairment later in life."

Nesting panic
The researchers induced stress in rats by limiting the nesting material in cages containing females and their new-born young.
The young rats appeared to overcome their initial feelings of stress but during middle age started to show signs of memory lapses.
The difficulties worsened as the rats grew older and developed much more rapidly than similar problems in rats raised for the first week of their lives in a nurturing environment.
Analysis showed faults in the communication mechanism between hippocampal cells in the stressed rats as they entered middle age.
Similarly, electrical activity in the cells, while normal in youth, became increasingly disturbed as the rats grew older.

A report by the UN-body UNESCO released last year estimated that more than 50% of the world's children are raised under stressful conditions.
Early life stress has previously been linked to later cognitive impairment - but it has not yet proved possible to test the association in human studies.

Immune effect
Rebecca Wood, of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said previous research had shown chronic stress and recurrent depression damaged both the immune system and brain structures that are important for memory and learning.
"This new study provides the first evidence that moderate stress in young rats causes problems when they are older in the parts of the brain that are responsible for learning and memory.
"Further research will be needed in humans but these results suggest that a period of early-life psychological stress could cause decline in memory later in life."
Mrs Wood said the same parts of the brain were affected in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
The Alzheimer's Research Trust is funding research to investigate whether stress contributes to the development of Alzheimer's.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/4327992.stmPublished: 2005/10/11 23:52:15 GMT


I'm doomed - but I don't remember why!!

CQ

18 comments:

CyberKitten said...

That explains SO much.....

craziequeen said...

Just what I was thinking as I read it.......

CQ

CyberKitten said...

Is it a Syndrome...? Can I blame my Mother for giving me a Syndrome...?

That'd be SO cool................

craziequeen said...

You could wear a black and white lycra leotard with a big S on the front.......

You can have my psychological damage if you like - I'd be only to glad to pass that on.......

CQ

CyberKitten said...

Thanks... but I have enough psychological damage of my own.........

..and you REALLY wouldn't want to see me in lycra... trust me on this one....

Mary P. said...

You two are better than George and Gracie. I for one have found occasional cause to be grateful for my terrible memory. I simply cannot, even were it in my nature, carry a grudge - because I don't remember the offense! Makes me easy to live with, if you can overlook the fact that I'll forget to cook a meal, forget where my keys are umpteen times a week, forget that thing I said I'd pick up at the store... sigh...

CyberKitten said...

I think something similar has been said before.... To which CQ responed:

GOOD GOD, NO!

craziequeen said...

You're never going to let me forget that, are you Kitty??

:-)

CQ

CyberKitten said...

Well.. my right ear drum was ringing for a few hours... and I think you set off a few car alarms.... So it's pretty difficult to forget........

craziequeen said...

Let's just say the question 'are you two a couple?' sort of took me by surprise......

:-)

CQ

CyberKitten said...

Really? I can't say that I noticed the sound of shock in your voice...

Maybe my ears were still ringing.... (snigger)

craziequeen said...

Of course - since then I have got used to people assuming we are a couple.....must be something in our synergy...

:-)

CQ

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