Health And Wellness: Know The Looming Dangers Of Stress And How It Can Negatively Impact The Brain

By Abbie Kraft, Parent Herald December 31, 10:29 pm

It's a given fact that too much stress is lethal to one's health. New studies suggest that stress does not only affect one's immune system, but it can potentially damage the brain.

A study on mice revealed that being exposed to chronic stress causes inflammation to the brain. The neuroscientists from the Ohio State University trained the mice to work their way out of a maze, according to Science Alert.

As the mice mastered the path, some were exposed to stress while some remained as the control group. A more aggressive mouse (the stressor) was introduced to the group, as a result, the mice that were affected by the aggressive mouse's presence were greatly affected causing them to forget their way out due to stress.

"The stressed mice didn't recall it," lead researcher Jonathan Godbout stated in the Ohio State University website. "The mice that weren't stressed, they really remembered it."

The mice that went through stress had brain scan wherein it was revealed that their brains were inflamed. Stress caused the mice's immune system to respond to outside pressure.

The mice's macrophages (type on immune cells), attacked the brain as a response to severe stress. It caused inflammation and prevents new brain cells from growing.

"This is chronic stress,"  Godbout added. "It's not just the stress of giving a talk or meeting someone new... It's possible we could identify targets that we can treat pharmacologically or behaviorally."

It was also revealed that the brain inflammation caused by stress has a long-term effect as it managed to last four weeks after the experiment was conducted. The researchers then provided anti-inflammatory prescriptions to the mice that were suffering from stress. The macrophage levels dropped, and the mice were able to function properly but the brain cell deficit and social avoidance remained as a result of being exposed to too much stress.

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