Category Archives: Stress

How Stress Can Affect Caregivers

Between juggling work and a personal life, many Americans who take on the role of family caregiver to older loved ones often experience a great deal of stress.  The cost of healthcare has become more expensive than ever, a fact which has caused more and more adult children to function as de facto caregivers for their aging parents and grandparents. Continue reading

How to Optimize Brain Health at Any Age

Modern life places extraordinary demands on our brains. Whether your goal is to become more resilient, enhance memory, ward off Alzheimer’s disease, or simply improve mental focus to perform better at work, this how-to guide shows you exactly how to “use it or lose it.” Continue reading

Can Stress Accelerate Alzheimer’s?

By: Dr. Pascale Michelon

Chronic stress is associated with brain atrophy, memory problems, and dementia. However how this works is not well understood. A new animal study suggests that stress-induced steroids that inhibit brain activity may be part of the answer. Continue reading

Feeling Lonely Increases Dementia Risks

By: Dr. Pascale Michelon

Loneliness or social isolation is traditionally related to poorer health outcomes and life expectancy. The Amsterdam Study of the Elderly suggests that it may also be linked to increased risks of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, feeling lonely, rather that actually being alone, may be what matters. Continue reading

Feeling Lonely? Meditation can Help.

By: Dr. Pascale Michelon

Loss of companionship and its accompanying feeling of loneliness is unfortunately common as we age. Non-invasive ways to relieve this feeling are rare. Recently, a UCLA study showed that a 8-week program of mindfulness meditation can help reduce loneliness in older adults. Continue reading

Dementia and Depression: What’s the Relationship?

By: Dr. Pascale Michelon

Depression and dementia often coexist in older adults. So far it is not clear which come first, that is whether depression is a risk factor for dementia or an early symptom. A new study suggests that it depends on when the depression strikes and what kind of dementia one is talking about. Depression that occurs for the first time in late life may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, while recurrent depression in middle and late life may increase the risks of vascular dementia. Continue reading

Meditate For 8 Weeks and Watch Your Brain Grow

By: Dr. Pascale Michelon

What we do on a daily basis can affect our brain health. Indeed, thanks to neuroplasticity (the lifelong ability of the brain to change), new brain cells (neurons) and connections between neurons can grow, based on our experiences. Recent studies show that practicing meditation is part of the daily activities that can change the brain. Continue reading

Stress Makes your Brain Shrink

By: Dr. Pascale Michelon

High and sustained levels of stress not only increase blood pressure, lower immunity and inflammatory response but also affect the brain itself.
In a previous post we reported that long-term exposure to cortisol (the “stress hormone”) can result in damage to cells in the hippocampus, a brain structure crucial for memory formation. A recent study at Yale now shows that experiencing stressful life events can reduce gray matter in other critical regions of the brain that regulate emotions and important physiological functions. Continue reading

Meditation can Change your Brain

By: Dr. Pascale Michelon

What we do on a daily basis can affect our brain health, thanks to neuroplasticity, the lifelong ability of the brain to change. In other words, new brain cells (neurons) and connections between neurons can grow, based on our experiences. Previous studies have shown that becoming expert at a specific activity (music, language, navigation, etc.) changes the brain areas involved in this activity. These areas are highly stimulated and usually get bigger as more neurons and connections are generated. Could practicing meditation change the brain too? Continue reading

Stress and Memory: What’s the Relationship?

By: Dr. Pascale Michelon

Intuitively, stress does not seem to be a performance booster. We have all fumbled through documents right in the middle of a stressful presentation or conversation, unable to find the document we wanted! On the other hand it feels like a little bit of stress may help arouse us. What does science tell us about the effect of stress on performance? Is stress good for memory? Continue reading