August 29, 2019 – Specific Stressors


Anchor lead: When it comes to stress and memory impairment, are some stressors worse than others? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Stressful events in middle-aged women are associated with memory impairment, while such a relationship is not seen in men, a Johns Hopkins study led by Cynthia Munro has shown. This difference in stress response may explain why more women than men will ultimately develop dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. Munro describes the study.

Munro: We asked people about specific events, whether they had experienced them over the past year, or ever. Specific stressful events were things like divorce, loss of a spouse, job loss, stressful experiences that people might have. And we also them about traumatic events. Had they been in combat or had they been the victim of a physical assault? In women the greater number of stressful experiences was associated with more of a decline in their ability to remember.  :28

Munro notes that the chronic stressors such as divorce were much more impactful than isolated traumatic events, and may have to do with stress hormone elevation. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.