Essay on Brain and Higher Cortisol Levels

Submitted By heartwangs
Words: 460
Pages: 2

“Severe stress hurts children’s brains, hurts hippocampus, study shows.” Krista Conger Stanford Report. March, 2007. http://news.stanford.edu/news/2007/march7/med-carrion-030707.html

In this article, Victor Carrion did a study on children and how stress affects their brains. He studied 15 children from the ages of 7-13 that were suffering from PTSD for a 12-18 month period to see how they cope with stress and who copes better. In this study, they found that kids with higher cortisol levels (a marker level of stress) and more severe PTSD syndromes at the beginning of the study were more likely to have reductions in their hippocampal levels than their peers, who were not as affected. It is shown that the decrease in hippocampal levels is related to the increase in stress and cortisol levels. The cortisol is also proven to decrease the hippocampal size, which then makes it harder to cope and increasing cortisol levels, again decreasing the size. It is a viscous cycle. It is shown that children with more damage to their hippocampal levels at a young age will have a harder time dealing with large amounts of stress later in their life.

“The Teen Brain: It’s Just Not Grown Up Yet.” Richard Knox NPR. March, 2010. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124119468

This article explains why teenagers are worse at making decisions and how the connection to the frontal lobe can have other effects on us as well. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls decision making. Some may think that teenagers can’t access it as well, they can, it just happens slower. The myelin sheaths that surround the axons on the neurons are not as developed in that area, making the neural communications slower to the frontal lobe. This slower connection means…