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Home » News

Study shows chronic stress in adolescence may impair memory

Article / Review by on March 7, 2012 – 7:21 pmNo Comments

Study shows chronic stress in adolescence may impair memory

Study shows chronic stress in adolescence may impair memory

As many of us have experienced, chronic stress can take a toll on your emotions and ability to think clearly. Now findings published in Neuronoffer new insights into how chronic stress may affect the brain during adolescence and adulthood.

In the study (subscription required), University of Buffalo researchers analyzed whether repeated stress negatively influenced glutamate receptors in juvenile rats. Glutamate signaling plays an important role in prefrontal cortex (PFC) function. According to the university release:

[The] study involved male rats at an age corresponding to human adolescence–a period when the brain is highly sensitive to stress.

When the rats were exposed to repeated stress, they lost glutamate receptor expression and function in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that controls working memory, decision-making and attention and doesn’t fully mature until age 25.

This loss significantly impaired the adolescent rats’ ability to remember and recognize objects they had previously seen. Similarly stressed adult rats, however, did not experience the same cognitive deficit.

[R]esearchers also report that by disrupting the enzymes that trigger loss of glutamate receptor expression they were able to prevent the cognitive impairment induced by repeated stress. As a result, they have discovered that there may be a way to prevent chronic stress’ detrimental effects.

 

By Lia Steakley
Stanford University Medical Center

 Photo by Michael Clesle

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* Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions – Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

**  The above story is adapted from materials provided by Stanford University School of Medicine

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