Early childhood emotional stress can cause memory loss later in life

KYW Staff
November 12, 2019 - 2:55 pm
A baby crying.

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KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — What happens to us as children can have a major impact as we age. 

Neuroscience reports have shown that emotional stress caused by parental loss, abuse, or neglect during infancy could result in memory loss and cognitive decline 40 to 50 years later. 

Researchers think emotional stress at an early age can trigger a gradual deterioration of brain cell communication in adulthood. 

Cell signaling problems occur in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in the collection, storage, and recall of learned memories. These memory deficits worsen as we grow older. 

Work was done on rats who were presented with severe stresses early in their lives. 

There is no doubt that early life experiences, especially stressful ones, can have a major impact.