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Stress Management
Are you experiencing cognitive decline ?
True / False
1. From time to time, I forget what day of the week it is.
2. Sometimes when I'm looking for something, I forget what it is that I'm looking for.
3. My friends and family seem to think I'm more forgetful now than I used to be.
4. Sometimes I forgot the names of my friends.
5. It's hard for me to add two-digit numbers without writing them down.
6. I frequently miss appointments because I forget them.
7. I rarely feel energetic.
8. Small problems upset me more than they once did.
9. It's hard for me to concentrate for even an hour.
10. I often misplace my keys, and when I find them, I often can't remember putting them there.
11. I frequently repeat myself.
12. Sometimes I get lost, even when I'm driving somewhere I've been before.
13. I often forget the point I'm trying to make.
14. To feel mentally sharp, I depend upon caffeine.
15. It takes longer for me to learn things than it used to.

A growing number of medical practitioners now believe that age-associated memory impairment and early-stage Alzheimer's disease are often linked. Until as late as the mid-90s, most researchers thought that age-associated memory impairment and Alzheimer's were distinct, separate maladies. Very recently, though, researchers at the Federal Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers discovered that many people with age-associated memory impairment soon develop Alzheimer's. Dr. Andy thinks that the goal of Stress Management is brain longevity and it is important to intervene in the earliest possible stages of cognitive decline. It is much easier to prevent cognitive decline than to reverse it.

Then, what is the cause of brain aging ? Just to say a few, the stress you feel in daily life, hormonal disbalance, etc and brain degeneration are some causes and they are linked together. The adrenal hormones which have effects on human body's function are important too. One of them is DHEA, which has positive effect and another is the stress hormone, cortisol, which has bad effects. If a person feels stressed, cortisol is overproduced, it assaults brain functions. And thus turn on the aging process of the brain and impair memory slowly. There are three essential ways that stress destroys optimal function of the brain, and blots out memory.

First, when cortisol is released in a stressful situation, it inhibits the utilization of blood sugar by the brain's primary memory center, the hippocampus. If there isn't enough blood sugar in the hippocampus, it suffers an energy shortage, and the brain has no way to chemically lay down a memory. A person can experience an event, but have almost no recall of it. This accounts for the immediate, short-term memory deficit of people under stress.

Second, cortisol overproduction interferes with the function of the brain's neurotransmitters. Thus, even if a memory has been properly laid down in the past, it can no longer be easily accessed. Brain cells just can't communicate with one another, and the mind becomes muddled. It's why people often become temporally befuddled in high-stress situations.

Third, too much cortisol kills brain cells. This happens when cortisol disrupts normal brain cell metabolism, and causes excessive amounts of calcium to enter brain cells. That excess of calcium eventually produces molecules called free radicals, which kill brain cells from within. Over long periods, excess cortisol can kill billions of brain cells this way.

Perhaps, the `Fish story` below will clearly describes the neurotoxic assault of cortisol. No journey is more dramatic in the animal kingdom than that of salmon fighting their way upstream to spawn. They battle the current, and leap past dams and up waterfalls. Where do they get all this energy? Mostly, they get it from cortisol, secreted by their adrenals. At the time when salmon make this epic journey, their normal control over cortisol production stops working, and they oversecrete massive quantities of it. This overproduction exhausts their adrenal glands and disrupts their metabolism. Just after they spawn, they have enormous, swollen adrenal glands, and their hormonal balance is completely destroyed. They have peptic ulcers, their immune systems are degraded, they appear disoriented, they have lesions on their kidneys, and they are easily overcome by parasites and infections. They quickly die afterwards.

We can't think of it as just a story of salmon. Stressful life , which lead to cortisol overproduction causes lack of hormone balance, then destruct neurologic function. We need to protect our body from stress in daily life. Dr. Andy is providing consultation in Stress Management and Brain Longevitiy. If you are interested in knowing more, feel free to call him and make an appointment. Meanwhile, recall how many Trues and Falses you have scored.

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