Research on chronic stress pathology shows the damaging effects this type of stress has on the human body.
Examples of Research on Chronic Stress Pathology
Research on the pathology of chronic stress examines many specific aspects of the effects of chronic stress on the human body. Although most of the research studies are not conducted on humans, researchers use their results to show the relationship and correlation of chronic stress on the human body. The following are overviews of several of these research studies.
Chronic Stress and Alzheimer's Disease
According to the American Health Assistance Foundation several different research groups have conducted animal studies of chronic stress and its effect on Alzheimer's Disease. These research groups concluded that the pathology of Alzheimer's Disease can be accelerated by chronic stress.
These studies also concluded that a person with a low level of stress is typically healthier and has a lesser chance of developing dementia. They also show that a reduction in stress levels:
- Improves overall emotional health and well being
- Reduces blood pressure levels
- Aids long term cognition
- Aids short term memory
- Reduces the risk of Alzheimer's Disease
- Slows the development of Alzheimer's Disease
- Slows the progress of Alzheimer's Disease
The Effects of Chronic Stress on the Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients
A research study conducted by the Federal National Institute of Aging and researchers from Ohio State University on the effect that chronic stress has on family members caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's Disease showed a weakening of the caregivers' immune systems.
The study, conducted over a period of almost thirty years, indicated that the life span of the caregivers may be shortened from four to eight years. The research group also had:
- An increase in depression
- Shorter telomeres in the blood cells
- Lower levels of telomerase repair enzymes
- The immune system had fewer lymphocytes and a higher level of cytokines
Chronic Stress and the Brain
Researchers at the Douglas Hospital Research Center concluded that the hormones released by stress had a direct effect on the functioning of the brain. The study showed the following negative effects of chronic stress:
- Children and young adults experienced learning difficulties.
- Elderly people experienced difficulties with their memory and learning due to effects on the hippocampus and higher levels of cortisol.
Chronic Stress and Neurodegenerative Diseases
A study conducted by researchers from Texas A & M University lead them to conclude that chronic stress may increase the risk of increased inflamation of the central nervous system. The increased inflamation may lead to a higher risk of infections of the central nervous system and neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
The Effect of Chronic Stress on Individual Cells
A study by the National Institute of Mental Health shows how individual cells adapt to chronic stress, extreme stress and sudden stress.
Although research scientists have known for many years that ongoing stress has an effect on a person's physical and mental health, recent research on chronic stress pathology shows direct links to the hormonal and physical changes that occur and the negative effects they have on the person's health.