Does stress cause loss of brain cells_ Researchers say yes and have shown that an area of the brain called the hippocampus was reduced by as much as 25 percent as a result of long-term stress, especially in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) patients.
Importantly, the hippocampus is involved in long-term and conscious memory processes and, therefore, stress can lead to significant memory loss. It’s thought that, since the hippocampus contains many receptors for stress-released steroid hormones such as glucocorticoids, an overload of these hormones may literally destroy brain cells.
The next question is this: Do older people who take glucocorticoid-containing steroid hormones for a variety of diseases lose their memories_ And if so, do the symptoms mimic Alzheimer’s in a way that makes us treat these older people differently_ Another medical issue to be thought about and resolved.
STRESS & THE POWER OF PRAYER
Studies at Dartmouth Medical School, Duke University School of Medicine, and Yale University show that prayer and meditation have a profound effect against disease and illness.
In separate research studies it was found that :
- People who never attended church spent an average of 3 times more days hospitalized when sick than people who attended weekly.
- Heart patients were 14 times more likely to die following surgery if they did not participate in a religion.
- Elderly people who never or rarely attended church had a stroke rate double that of people who attended regularly.
- In Israel, religious people had a 40 percent lower death rate from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The reason for this is simple.
According to Dr. Andrew Goliszek, author of 60 Second Stress Management, anything you do to reduce stress reactions will decrease blood levels of stress hormones such as cortisol.
And since one of the main effects of cortisol is to depress the immune system and decrease the body’s ability to fight disease, activities such as prayer and meditation reduce this hormone and naturally reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.