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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
stress hormone, cortisol, after being released from the adrenal gland will travel back into the brain and bind to the receptors on the brain structure called hippocampus. The hippocampus is THE structure for memory formation (not storage) and navigation. However, it is also one of the main target of the stress hormone. In normal stressful condition, the hippocampus tells the body to tone-down the release of cortisol (negative feedback). Prolonged severe stress, however, has toxic effects on the hippocampus and can actually kill neurons and halter the generation of new neurons, in the hippocampus. The result? Shrunken hippocampus and memory problems!!!

BTW, stress hormone is not necessarily bad. Acute actions of cortisol moblize the body's energy and increase arousal and therefore prepare the individual to deal with the stressful event. It is the prolonged effect of the stress hormone that lead to brain damage.

Just a little info I learned in grad school. FYI
 

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When I worked at an Alzheimer's research center, a lot of people who came in with memory problems turned out to be depressed.

hormones can influence your mental ability very much.

Cortisol also encourages weight gain around the gut. Fun huh?

What are you studying? I used to want to go into psychopharmacology or neuroscience, but they all require a lot of animal labs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
epski, both human and animal research support this phenomenon.

Thalia, I am a Ph.D student in neuroscience. I know bit about psychopharmacology, stress, anxiety, brain, blah blah blah....

And yes cortisol encourage weight gain and this makes sense in terms of adaptiveness because one main function of the stress hormone is to preserve energy (think about a cave man facing harsh winter).
 
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