Archive for September 22nd, 2006

Stress Can Shrink Your Brain

September 22, 2006

imagesa.jpgWe may be working overtime lately, we may be doing a lot of things at the same time, we have kids and family problems…they can be work related etc…all contribute to “stress”.  It is inevitable…we cant escape from it but we should know how to handle it!  Especially with this new research that showed that stress can SHRINK your brain and prematurely age your immune system.

Essentially, the study mentioned in the NIH website presented at the 2006 Annual convention of American Psychological Association emphasized that “stress can addle your mind and make you older.” The study involving rats showed that stress causes neuron in the brain to shrink resulting in memory impairment and this may be happening to humans too. 

With stress, our body starts to produce the so called ” stress” hormones like steroid, catecholamines that have been shown to cause some changes in the brain which result in poor memory with less ability to remember and learn.  The same mechanism may be true why stress in one study can affect one’s mood and result in depression.  Likewise the immune system of a stressed individual tend to age faster due to the shortening of the chunks of DNA which make cells work properly.

But there’s a upside to this news according to the researchers: Exercise has been shown to reverse the defect.  And, in the case of the brain at least, “time might heal the wounds caused by stress.”

So what do we need to do: My Threesome Rules Of Stress Relief!

1. Get sufficient sleep most days of the week,

2. Make an effort to be active throughout life, and

3. Have a healthy diet 

My Practical Tip: solve a problem right away once it crops up.  Delaying action on one issue while analyzing another endeavor will contribute to unnecessary stress. So while seeing a patient in my medical clinic, and if a problem crops up in my research clinic… I pause first, excuse myself from my patient and settle the research problem.  In so doing I am now free to listen and deal with the problems of my patient! And I tell you…it works to lessen the stress! Again it’s how you handle the stress!

Take Good Care of Your Brain…Beat The Stress!

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