Why do some people lose their short-term memory with age, while others remain unaffected?
A link between the stress hormone cortisol and short-term memory problems has been found by a new study.
Although cortisol is a natural hormone that spikes when we are stressed to help us deal with challenging situations, over time its long-term effects may be detrimental to short-term memory.
This is the first study to link long-term exposure to cortisol with short-term memory problems.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa and published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that high levels of cortisol were associated with a loss of synapses in the prefrontal cortex, a structure that’s important for short-term memory (Anderson et al., 2014).
The findings are based on a study of rats which were 21 months old — this meant their brains were roughly equivalent to that of a 65-year-old human.
In the study, rats’ corticosterone levels were measured. Continue reading.
Originally posted on PsyBlog.
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