Stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Healthy stress keeps the body and mind attentive and sharp and is actually beneficial in preparing us for unforeseen events. Bad stress, however, is quite detrimental to one’s health, explains experts at Neuro Drinks. Bad stress is often related to the development of conditions such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Stress and Its Impact on Development
Neuroscientists have recently learned that long-term stress can have serious consequences. Specifically, these scientists have studied how parental stress affects kids, how kids experience stress biochemically, and how specific brain cells respond to fear and anxiety.
However, not all stress is bad; in fact, the fight-or-flight response—fueled by short-term stress—is essential to our very survival. A person can immediately react to danger indicators when under such stress. When a person is scared, the brain’s amygdala, sometimes known as the “fear center,” activates the core stress response. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which comprises the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal cortex, controls the release of hormones such as cortisol. With the help of this stress reaction, a person can quickly respond to threats by accelerating the heart rate, boosting blood flow, and elevating blood sugar levels. Once the danger has passed, this system also works to restore our hormones to their normal levels.
Nevertheless, chronic stress is extremely problematic as it always keeps the body on high alert. The hormones that trigger a person’s fight-or-flight reaction often interfere with functions such as digestion and sleep when levels are high for extended periods. Additionally, some studies indicate that heightened hormone levels may weaken immunological function, making a person more vulnerable to long-term illnesses and infections like the flu.
Stress and Kids
There’s no doubt that stress can also change neural connections, say the experts at Neuro Drinks. Chronic stress modifies a person’s brain, nervous system, and even behavior. This change allows one to adjust to a state of increased vigilance and reactivity. The state of one’s mental and physical health may deteriorate when the brain is on constant alert. The negative impacts of mental health conditions are also not limited to those experiencing them; a recent study indicated that maternal stress negatively affects children.
Children are affected by stress from more than just their mothers. Jennifer Chan from the University of Pennsylvania studied the stressful interactions between fathers and their kids. Chan found that stress modified the maturation of the father’s sperm and even altered the manifestation of its genes. According to Chan, understanding how parental experiences affect children’s health can help doctors spot them as risk factors. Plus, doing so may result in early intervention for children in danger.
Stress and Its Effects on Neural Connections
Chan’s study also shows that stress changes how the brain functions, resulting in long-term changes in physiology and behavior. Investigating the neuroscience of stress can reveal how it affects neural networks and cognitive performance. The experts at Neuro Drinks indicate that more studies will provide information that will be beneficial in developing strategies to stop typical neurological issues brought on by stress.
An Introduction to Tripartite Synapses, Neurons, and Astrocytes
The brain has many different cell types in addition to the most commonly known neurons. One of these additional types, Glial cells, are thought to make up between 33 and 66 percent of brain cells and bind the neurons together. Scientists have identified four types of glial cells, astrocytes, microglia, NG2-glia, and oligodendrocytes.
Scientists have determined that each type of glial cell serves an individual function in addition to holding neurons together. For instance, astrocytes—the most numerous of the glial cell varieties—are star-shaped cells with “fine processes” or limbs extending outward from the center of the cell and are essential for creating and maintaining synaptic connections.
The Link Between Stress, Neurons, and Astrocytes
The experts at Neuro Drinks understand that it is important to look into how astrocytes, neurons, and stress interact. Astrocytes alter synaptic connections and play a crucial role in stress-related behavior. Therefore, one prospective therapy for stress-related neurological illnesses is to reverse changes specifically brought on by astrocyte-related stress. Recently, a molecular mechanism that controls GluA1 production has been found, and, with that discovery, neuroscientists have established that stress alters astrocyte structure.