thanks for posting this. I’ve had a keen interest in the stress hormone “cortisol” and can’t let this pass without some comments from another perspective.
While that article clearly focuses on stress and the immune system, I think it’s worthwhile to point out that the stress hormone “cortisol”, at persistently high levels is also neurotoxic (glutamate toxicity). High cortisol levels
, already linked to cognitive and physical disability as well as disease progression in people with MS, can also result in symptoms people with MS may experience.
The background info from this clinical trial (not an MS trial) illustrates that quite well I think. Tylenol for Mood and Memory Changes Associated With Corticosteroid Therapy
If you read it you’ll see that prolonged prednisone (synthetic cortisol
) use in people without MS is associated with deficits in cognitive functioning
(memory and others), major depression
and hippocampal atrophy
. (Muu--it mentions lamotrigine too)
With respect to hippocampal atrophy in people with MS, here’s info from the AAN meeting
Regional Hippocampal Atrophy in Relapsing Remitting and Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Nancy L. Sicotte, Kyle Kern, Barbara Giesser, Amrapali Arshanapalli, Alison Burggren, Susan Bookheimer, Los Angeles, CA
CONCLUSIONS/RELEVANCE: Selective volume loss occurs within the hippocampus in MS. Changes appear first in the CA1 subregion and then spread to the other CA fields and the dentate gyrus. The volume changes that occur are disproportionate to global brain volume loss. Glutamate toxicity or other systemic insults may account for these changes.
With respect to depression and hippocampal atrophy (not people with MS), here’s an interesting abstract:The possibility of neurotoxicity in the hippocampus in major depression: a primer on neuron death
The subtypes of depression associated with the hippocampal atrophy typically involve significant hypersecretion of glucocorticoids, and the steroid has a variety of adverse effects in the hippocampus, including causing overt neuron loss
All of this to say, I think there may be more to “stress” than how it impacts the immune system in people with MS and one of the questions yet to be answered in MS research is whether or not the high levels of cortisol in people with MS contribute to “our” cognitive problems, depression and hippocampal atrophy, just like it apparently does for people without MS. Dom/Finn
—I couldn’t find any links to the other info you cited (that’s ok) Dom, you might be interested in this info. Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators: central role of the brain Lyon
—I agree with you.
chronic stress isn't a favorable situation.
But I'd add, and neither are high levels of the stress hormone "cortisol".
Take care all—looks like relaxation is “in”.