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Tags: stress | impairs | memory

How Stress Impairs Memory

Friday, 09 March 2012 02:39 PM EST

Actors forget their lines. Athletes choke under pressure. And political candidates fail to recall key campaign positions. All are classic examples of how stress takes a toll on the ability to think clearly, remember important information and perform under pressure.
Now, new research offers clues to why chronic stress can harm memory and thinking ability – findings that could provide critical insights into stress-related mental illnesses.
Researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo, writing in the journal Neuron, have discovered stress hormones can effect biochemical activity in regions of the brain that control high level "executive" functions such as memory and decision making.
"Previous work has shown that chronic stress impairs… mental flexibility and attention. However, little is known about the physiological consequences and molecular targets of long-term stress,” noted lead researcher Dr. Zhen Yan.
For the study, Yan and colleagues studied the brains of rats to determine that repeated stress produces changes at the molecular level in the regions of the brain that effect memory and higher functions.
They suggested their findings could help lead to new ways to block those molecular changes to blunt the impact of stress on cognitive functions and even combat stress-related mental illnesses.

© HealthDay

Scientists discover how stress harms the ability to think clearly, remember and perform under pressure.
Friday, 09 March 2012 02:39 PM
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