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Health Agencies Update
December 22/29, 2004

Stress and Memory Loss Link

JAMA. 2004;292(24):2963. doi:10.1001/jama.292.24.2963-d

A new study funded by the US Public Health Service, the National Institute of Mental Health, and others has found that stressful situations can activate a brain enzyme that impairs short-term memory (Science. 2004;306:882-884).

Researchers at the Yale Medical School, in New Haven, Conn, found that high levels of activity of the enzyme protein kinase C (PKC) in the prefrontal cortex, which often occurs during stress, markedly impaired biochemical, behavioral, and electrophysiological measures of memory. The investigators found that exposure to mild stressors impaired prefrontal cortical cognitive function in rats and monkeys and that PKC inhibitors block this impairment.

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