Cortisol Effects on Memory

  • Print this article

The steroid hormone cortisol--also known as the stress hormone--plays many important roles in our body. Stress causes our adrenal glands to release excess amounts of this hormone. Prolonged excessive amounts of cortisol result in a number of changes that can negatively impact our memory.

  1. Old and New Memories

    • According to the Franklin Institute, elevated cortisol levels can impact the formation of new memories and retrieval of old ones.

    Hippocampus

    • Excessive levels of cortisol affect the hippocampus--the primary part of the brain involved in learning and memory. High cortisol levels obstruct normal glucose delivery to the brain--the primary source of energy for all cells.

    Neurotransmitters

    • The institute also notes that in addition to interfering with the brain's energy supply, cortisol also impacts neurotransmitters. These chemicals facilitate communication between brain cells.

    Research

    • The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis conducted a study examining the relationship between high cortisol levels and memory impairment. The study consisted of 51 people receiving either a high dose of cortisol, a low dose or inactive substance. Those taking the highest dose suffered an impaired memory.

    Implications

    • According to lead researcher Dr. John W. Newcomer, the study showed that impairment did not manifest until four days into the cortisol treatments and it only affected those taking the highest dose. After one week off the treatments, tests revealed these participants regained their pre-treatment memory function. Newcomer states the results of this study suggest you would have to be exposed to very high levels of cortisol for a prolonged period to suffer any real damage and that this damage does not appear to permanently affect your memory.

Related Searches

References

You May Also Like

  • Treatment for Excess Cortisol

    Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol plays a role in liver function, the immune system and blood sugar...

  • The Effect of Cortisol on Erythropoiesis

    Red blood cells are responsible for a variety of tasks in the human body, and their continued production must take place in...

  • The Effects of Cortisol on Testosterone

    Cortisol and testosterone are both hormones produced by the adrenal glands, the glands that sit atop the kidneys in the human body...

  • Cortisol Effect on Basophils

    Cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone that helps you deal with the stresses of life, also has anti-inflammatory properties that handle allergic reactions. It...

  • Cortisol Side Effects

    Cortisol, or hydrocortisone, is a natural steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol has many beneficial functions: it maintains consistent blood...

  • What Is Cortisol?

    Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that sit above the kidneys. Known as the "stress hormone," cortisol makes blood...

  • The Effects of High Cortisol

    The Effects of High Cortisol. Along with adrenaline, cortisol works to prepare your body for an emergency. Produced by your body's perception...

  • Does Cortisol Have Aspartame in It?

    Cortisol is a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Aspartame, on the other hand, is an artificial sweetener with the molecular...

  • What Can Raise Cortisol Levels?

    Cortisol is a hormone produced by the body's adrenal glands. When distributed within the body in the right amounts, it regulates glucose...

  • What are the Effects of Low Cortisol Levels?

    Cortisol is a hormone that helps the body remain alert and respond to stress by influencing reactions in many different organs and...

  • Cortisol Stress

    Cortisol is a hormone that is released by the body into the blood stream as a reaction to stress. This is a...

  • The Effects of Excess Cortisol

    Cortisol is one of the hormones that is produced in response to stress. Combined with other stress hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol...

  • How to Lower Cortisol Levels at Night

    Cortisol, a hormone created in the adrenal gland, is known as the "stress hormone." It is one of the body's instinctual response...

  • Different Kinds of Music That Affect Your Memory While Studying

    Different Kinds of Music That Affect Your Memory While Studying. "It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force...

  • How to Treat High Cortisol With Supplements

    Cortisol is a natural corticosteroid hormone that is produced in the body. It has been linked many times to high levels of...

  • Information on Cortisol

    A steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex, cortisol has many important functions in the body. Although beneficial in the right amounts,...

  • Signs of High Cortisol

    Signs of High Cortisol. Hormones are substances that control activities of parts of the body, affecting growth, development and reproduction. Cortisol is...

  • What Can Lower Cortisol Levels?

    While soaring cortisol levels can help you during a life and death situation, long-term spikes can damage your health. It's easy to...

Related Ads

Featured
View Mobile Site