– Study at the University of Iowa found link between high levels of stress hormone cortisol and lapses in short-term memory in old age
– Researchers said findings could form basis for treatment of memory loss
– Psychology professor Jason Radley said: ‘Stress hormones are one mechanism that we believe leads to weathering of the brain’
– Study found loss of short-term memory first appears around the age of 65
A stressful job and lifestyle could damage a person’s short-term memory in old age, scientists have warned.
A study at the University of Iowa has found a potential link between a hormone and short-term memory loss in older people.
It revealed that having high levels in cortisol – a natural hormone in the body, which increases when a person is stressed – can lead to memory lapses as a person ages.
Short-term increases in cortisol levels are vital for survival. The hormone allows a person to cope, helping the body to respond to life’s challenges by making it more alert and allowing a person to think on their feet.
But abnormally high or prolonged spikes in cortisol, which can happen when a person is dealing with long-term stressful situations, can lead to digestion problems, anxiety, weight gain and high blood pressure, studies have shown.
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