Study suggests stress can shrink the brain

Story by Andrea K. Walker
(The Baltimore Sun (MCT))
Thu, Feb 16, 2012
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If you’re stressed out from a divorce, a hard day at work or a fight with your girlfriend, it might be causing your brain to shrink.

A study by Yale University researchers found that stressful life events can reduce gray matter in regions of the brain that regulate emotion and important physiological functions in healthy people to brain structure changes associated with psychiatric disorders, such as addiction depression and anxiety.

Past studies have only linked stress.

The effects of stress on the brains of healthy individuals hasn’t been clear.

The researchers looked at MRIs of more than 100 healthy people. They found the changes soon after stressful events occurred and said the findings may serve as warning signals of future psychiatric disorders and chronic diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension.

The study, which was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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