Breaking News
March 26, 2019 - DermBiont Begins Phase 2 Clinical Trial for Athlete’s Foot with a Live Bacterial Topical Probiotic
March 26, 2019 - Persons with Alzheimer’s disease have a higher risk of head injuries
March 26, 2019 - Mental health issues associated with income inequalities in Indigenous people
March 26, 2019 - Participation in sports linked with fewer depressive symptoms in children
March 26, 2019 - Brain process common to sleep and aging discovered
March 26, 2019 - People under age 50 with hearing loss more likely to misuse alcohol and drugs
March 26, 2019 - People with and without cancer use different dosages of cannabis formulations, study shows
March 26, 2019 - Young people at risk of addiction show differences in key brain region
March 26, 2019 - In virtual exchange, students in California and Lebanon unite to improve refugee health
March 26, 2019 - Trump Administration Changes Course, Asks Court To Strike Down ACA
March 26, 2019 - People with untreated diabetes develop signs of Alzheimer’s disease at a faster rate
March 26, 2019 - Study explains how bright colors evolved and diversified in male guppies
March 26, 2019 - Savings from lower insurance costs of growth hormone drugs not passed on to patients
March 26, 2019 - Study highlights the need to pay more attention on specific nutritional needs of female athletes
March 26, 2019 - Sleep quality varies throughout menstrual cycle in young women
March 26, 2019 - Younger Female Blood Donors Vulnerable to Iron Deficiency
March 26, 2019 - Finding the elusive drinking ‘brake’
March 26, 2019 - Using the Mastermind strategy in brain research
March 26, 2019 - Symptomatic pharmacotherapy of elderly people should be regularly monitored
March 26, 2019 - Synthetic biological logic gate could one day be used to modify cellular function
March 26, 2019 - Damage to anxiety-associated brain region heightens monkeys’ defensive response
March 26, 2019 - Researchers uncover large-scale brain patterns and networks which control sleep
March 26, 2019 - Scientific Symposium at LABVOLUTION focuses on key issues in life sciences
March 26, 2019 - Screen time plus snacking could increase risk for metabolic syndrome in teens
March 26, 2019 - Attention, Seniors: Drink More Water and Head Off Disease
March 26, 2019 - Peptide shows promise for protecting kidneys from nephritis
March 26, 2019 - Causes of diabetes decline or disappear when ‘zombie cells’ are removed, shows study
March 26, 2019 - Scientists identify common genetic variants associated with post-stroke recovery
March 26, 2019 - Study finds link between menopause and changes in body composition
March 26, 2019 - Higher levels of sex hormones in older men related to lower biological age
March 26, 2019 - Research links participation in team sports to larger hippocampal volumes in children
March 26, 2019 - Cerveau announces research collaboration agreement with Eisai for novel tau imaging agent
March 26, 2019 - New technique measures frequency of sounds emitted from biological structures
March 26, 2019 - Removal of ‘zombie cells’ alleviates causes of diabetes in obese mice
March 26, 2019 - Women exposed to deepwater horizon oil spill continue to experience PTSD symptoms
March 26, 2019 - Shaping new treatments for tuberculosis
March 26, 2019 - Understanding genetic interactions holds key to new personalized therapies
March 26, 2019 - Nervous system relies on guidance cues for neuronal axons to reach destinations
March 26, 2019 - Altering gut microbiome may be potential treatment option for PCOS
March 26, 2019 - Moleculin Files with FDA for Expedited Approval Pathway for Annamycin
March 26, 2019 - GPs play pivotal role in ensuring success of new Faster Diagnosis Standard for Cancer
March 26, 2019 - New clues discovered to lung transplant rejection
March 26, 2019 - New study offers insight into development of delusions
March 26, 2019 - Children’s ball pits full of pathogenic microbes
March 26, 2019 - Exploring pathophysiological factors that link sleep problems and Alzheimer’s disease
March 26, 2019 - Walking downhill after meals can reduce bone resorption in postmenopausal women with diabetes
March 26, 2019 - USA LESS Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of LEOPARD Miracle Honey Due to Presence of Undeclared Sildenafil
March 26, 2019 - CT scan prior to spine fusion finds almost half of patients had undiagnosed osteoporosis
March 26, 2019 - After 2 Apparent Student Suicides, Parkland Grieves Again
March 25, 2019 - Inherited form of rickets improves more with new injectable medicine than conventional therapy
March 25, 2019 - Trastuzumab Tied to Higher Long-Term Risk for Heart Failure
March 25, 2019 - Personal context directly affects CPAP use
March 25, 2019 - Mosquito tracking key to preventing disease outbreaks
March 25, 2019 - Scientists Detect Hidden Signals from Beneficial Bacteria
March 25, 2019 - Treating women with thyroid antibodies with Levothyroxine do not increase live birth rate
March 25, 2019 - Brain area that only processes spoken, not written words identified
March 25, 2019 - Race and ethnicity influence fracture risk in diabetic patients
March 25, 2019 - Researchers report new regenerative medicine approach for treating osteoarthritis of the knee
March 25, 2019 - Exposure to dim light at night may contribute to spread of breast cancer to bones
March 25, 2019 - Benefits of osteoporosis treatment in postmenopausal women outweigh the perceived risks
March 25, 2019 - Researchers find evidence of Cryptosporidium parasite in Minnesota’s public water systems
March 25, 2019 - Three Clues to Raised Risk of Miscarriage
March 25, 2019 - Structured play helps toddlers self-regulate, altering their life course
March 25, 2019 - Translating horror into justice: Stanford psychiatrist advocates for human rights
March 25, 2019 - HORIBA Medical introduces D-Dimer reagent for Yumizen G hemostasis range
March 25, 2019 - Recurrent pregnancy loss may be caused by sperm DNA damage, finds study
March 25, 2019 - Special Collection tracks development of new diagnostic tests for tuberculosis
March 25, 2019 - Air Force develops genetic test to predict mental performance
March 25, 2019 - To abort or not to abort—making difficult choices alone
March 25, 2019 - Computer vision technology could aid ICU care by spotting movement
March 25, 2019 - IONTAS wins ‘Small Business of the Year’ category at Cambridge News Business Excellence Awards 2019
March 25, 2019 - First postpartum depression drug gets FDA nod
March 25, 2019 - Research Recognition Award will help improve lives of young people with absence epilepsy
March 25, 2019 - Bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis appears to be beneficial for all women
March 25, 2019 - Time-restricted eating may prove to be a dietary intervention against breast cancer
March 25, 2019 - Researchers develop new augmented reality app to assess spatial memory
March 25, 2019 - Dolomite Bio releases new Drop-seq datasets for single-cell RNA sequencing
March 25, 2019 - Hemoglobin A1c blood test may underestimate prevalence of diabetes
March 25, 2019 - Immune system errors linked to development of childhood leukemia
March 25, 2019 - Eating leafy green vegetables may help maintain muscle strength and mobility
Stressed out? Study suggests it may affect memory, brain size in middle age

Stressed out? Study suggests it may affect memory, brain size in middle age

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Credit: Nik Shuliahin, CC0

Middle-aged people with high levels of a hormone called cortisol in their blood have impaired memory when compared to those with average levels of the hormone, even before symptoms of memory loss started to show, according to a study published in the October 24, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. People with high levels of the hormone also had lower brain volume than those with regular cortisol levels.

Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, helps the body respond to stress. It can also help reduce inflammation, control blood sugar and blood pressure, regulate metabolism and help with immune response. High cortisol levels can be caused by stress, medical conditions or medications.

“Cortisol affects many different functions so it is important to fully investigate how high levels of the hormone may affect the brain,” said study author Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui, MD, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.

For the study, researchers identified 2,231 people with an average age of 49 who were free of dementia. At the beginning of the study, each participant had a psychological exam and assessments for memory and thinking skills. Their memory and thinking skills were tested again an average of eight years later.

Participants also provided a blood sample, taken in the morning after a period of fasting. Researchers measured cortisol levels in the blood and then divided participants into low, middle and high groups, with those in the middle group having cortisol levels in the normal range, between 10.8 and 15.8 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL).

A total of 2,018 participants also had an MRI brain scan to measure brain volume.

After adjusting for age, sex, smoking, and body mass index, researchers found that people with high levels of cortisol had lower scores on tests of memory and thinking skills than those with normal levels of cortisol. High cortisol was also linked to lower total brain volume. Those with high cortisol had an average total cerebral brain volume of 88.5 percent of total cranial volume compared to 88.7 percent of total cranial volume in those with normal levels of cortisol. No links were found between low cortisol levels and memory or brain size.

“Our research detected memory loss and brain shrinkage in middle-aged people before symptoms started to show, so it’s important for people to find ways to reduce stress, such as getting enough sleep, engaging in moderate exercise, incorporating relaxation techniques into their daily lives, or asking their doctor about their cortisol levels and taking a cortisol-reducing medication if needed,” said Echouffo-Tcheugui. “It’s important for physicians to counsel all people with higher cortisol levels.”

Limitations of the study include that cortisol levels in the blood were measured only once and may not represent long-term exposure to the hormone. Also, participants were mostly middle-aged with European ancestry so results do not reflect the population as a whole.


Explore further:
Saliva test for stress hormone levels may identify healthy older people with thinking problems

Journal reference:
Neurology

Provided by:
American Academy of Neurology

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles