medical terms, stress refers to events that cause a reaction
in the body. These events may be physical (e.g. accident or
injury) or psychological (e.g. fear, grief, joy). For example,
situations perceived as dangerous or threatening may result
in the body's "fight-or-flight"
response, in which hormones
are released that prepare the body to face a threat or run
away from it.
It is generally believed that a certain amount of stress is
necessary for physical well-being. However, intense prolonged
stress can lead to psychological and medical problems. In
the brain, long-term stress can lead to memory
lapses and even to atrophy
or death of brain cells (neurons).
The amount of stress an individual can stand before suffering
such problems varies depending on the individual's health,
environment and psychological makeup.
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain
Stress: Friend or