After a suggestion from a friend I began researching the effects of stress on cognitive decline. I’m not sure this is the answer she was looking for.
There are a number of studies supporting the fact that stress does contribute to developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Even stressful events that happened years earlier can trigger long lasting effects in the brain. Events like death of a loved one, divorce, chronic illness of a loved one, caring for someone with mental illness. Having multiple stressful life events compounds the problem. There is a dysregulation of the brain-pituitary-adrenal axis that continues to over produce chemicals that make it harder to think and establish poor coping mechanisms.
When people are in stressful situations their fight or flight systems go to work. So if you are in a meeting or in class where you are supposed to concentrate and learn you won’t be able to. Who can sit and do what they’re suppose to do when the lion is getting ready to attack? When the lion is attacking your cortisol and adrenalin are pumping, flooding your brain with anxiety chemicals. Dopamine and Acetylcholine should be being produced which helps you be calm and learn.
Does that mean I doomed to develop dementia because I’ve had stressful events in my life? It is important to realize that people respond to stressful events differently. Only you can control how much you let the event affect you. As the proverbial phrase goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. If you have adopted this way of thinking you may very well prevent the expected consequences.
Taking the right supplements may also give you a fighting chance to prevent cognitive decline. There are many formulas to chose from, but one research article that resonated with me and what I’m trying to do is this one. Phosphatidylserine(PS) is a type of fatty acid that makes up brain cells. Young healthy brains have a larger supply of (PS) than the brains of older people showing the effects of aging. There is clinical evidence showing that supplementing with PS can improve behavior and improve comprehension and thinking.
Take away: Don’t let stress get you down and take your supplements.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Please do me a favor and leave a comment with your favorite way to combat stress.
Reference1 Johansson L, Guo X, Hällström T, et al
Common psychosocial stressors in middle-aged women related to longstanding distress and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease: a 38-year longitudinal population study
BMJ Open 2013;3:e003142. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003142
Reference 2 Aging Clinical and Experimental Research April 1993, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 123–133 Cognitive decline in the elderly: A double- blind, placebo- controlled multicenter study on efficacy of phosphatidylserine administration. Cenacchi, T., Bertoldin, T., Farina, C. et al. Aging Clin Exp Res (1993) 5: 123. doi:10.1007/BF03324139
Reference 3 STRESS AND COGNITION: A COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Lyle E. Bourne, Jr. and Rita A. Yaroush February 1, 2003