Stress, Memory and Neurogenesis

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Stress, Memory and Neurogenesis

Postby BadgerJelly on February 28th, 2019, 4:33 am 

Something struck me recently about how stress effects memory. We know already that stress can enhance memory if the stressors are moderate, yet in all the studies I’ve perused I cannot find anything that mentions what happens in regards to neurogenesis after prolonged or hogh level stress (severe stress).

I am curious as to whether or not neurogenesis is boosted once the major stress has done its initial damage. Meaning does severe damaging stressors on the brain, once they’ve dissipated, actually accelerate neurogenesis beyond normal measures in order to “make up” for the loss.

Has anyone come across any evidence for this?
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Re: Stress, Memory and Neurogenesis

Postby BadgerJelly on March 1st, 2019, 2:16 am 

For anyone interested I did find a vague hint of something in this area:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3b12/0c09e47a9a6a121f2cb098796f81cd8bf93a.pdf

On page 5 ...

During the memory process, there appears to be some kind of reallocation of energy resources: Stress-induced cortisol secretion may ameliorate encoding, but hinder memory recall from long-term memory. An explanation for this is that cortisol, in order to make the brain ready for the encoding of new material, impedes the brain from the recall of old material.24,25 This raises the intriguing question whether it is possible to utilize several memory systems at the same time, or if the brain must focus on one memory stage/system at the time. Cortisol has also been reported to enhance memory consolidation.12,26 One hook in cortisol studies is that it may be difficult to iso- late the consequences of cortisol for distinct phases/ systems since cortisol is not stabilized until 90 min after inducement.14


The general assumption is that during stress long-term memory recall is inhibited in order to focus on processing and storig incoming information. This makes sense, but just because it makes intuitive sense I’m kind of wary.

It makes sense because when faced with a stressed situation we need to both react to the possible “threat” (problem) and focus on remembering the problem. Taking into account novel experience being seen as a possible “threat” this seems likely on top of the fact that novel experience can also trigger curiosity and positive arousal (attention due to intrigue rather than fear).

What this, and other things I‘ve read, do outline is that there are many different levels and types of memory and that they can operate independently and interdependantly which causes obvious problems for assessing exactly what is going on at a neural chemical level at any given moment and how these moments relate causally.
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