Does Midterm Stress Have You Forgetting the Simple Things? You're Probably Not Alone

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stressed-student.jpgWith the stress of midterms setting in, do you find yourself forgetting some of the most basic things? Things like meeting times or plans for the week can be harder to remember as more and more things get put on our academic plate and increase our levels of stress. For a while now, researchers have known that severe stress lasting months can have harmful effects on our cell's communication with themselves. A study from the University of California, Irvine however shows that short term stress can have similar effects on our body. Researchers found that short term acute stress activated selective molecules called corticotropin releasing hormones, which disrupted the process by which the brain collects and stores memories. Learning and memory take place at synapses in our brain. Through rat and mouse studies, it was found that an increase in corticotropin led to the rapid disintegration of dendritic spines, which then in turn, led to a decrease in the ability of the synapses to collect information. The news isn't all bad however, once the corticotropin was removed, the spines seemed to grow back as if nothing happened. So while short term stress does harm your short term memory, the damage doesn't seem to be permanent.

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I think this a good post for college readers. We all experience an unusual amount of stress at various times throughout our college experience and it is important to know how it affects your body. Some people put themselves under serious amounts of stress for long periods of time and don't always realize what they are doing to their inner workings. I think some people can handle more stress than other because of different coping mechanisms and whatnot but too much stress isn't good for anyone.

I will be the first to admit that I subject myself to unnecessary amounts of stress, and midterms only make that stress load worse. This blog post stood out to me because I have indeed been suffering from small slips of memory that are not normal for me. In the chapter on stress in out textbook, there are many great techniques one can use to reduce the amount of stress a person has on them, or to cope with stress. I think these tips would be especially helpful to us psych 1001 students.

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This page contains a single entry by cari0061 published on March 3, 2012 7:35 PM.

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