Even short-term stress damages memory

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London, Mar 12: Avoid taxing situations like heated discussions with colleagues and tight deadlines as short-term stress can also undermine memory and learning, according to new research. While previous studies demonstrated that increased production of certain hormones caused by stress over periods of weeks, months and years can damage recall abilities, the new research suggests that one-off stressful situations can have the same effect.

Lead author Dr Tallie Baram, a neuroscientist at the University of California said, ''Stress is a constant in our lives and cannot be avoided.'' ''Our findings can play an important role in the current development of drugs that might prevent these undesirable effects, and offer insights into why some people are forgetful or have difficulty retaining information during stressful situations,'' he added.

Dr Baram and colleagues found in animal experiments that acute stress stimulates the release of a chemical called corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH), which undermined the memories of rats and mice, the Daily Telegraph reported.

He said the work could help drug companies develop treatments to combat stress-related learning and memory loss by blocking the receptors that normally allow them to interact with cells.


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