This study of mice in the Journal of Neuroscience shows some evidence for the effect that many acupuncturists see in our clinic rooms. Patients come in with scattered thoughts, trying to recall their week, how they slept, what level their pain has been. They are suffering from constant stress – perhaps caused by poverty, fear, misdiagnosis, pain or abusive relationships. The pressure on them is immense and they cannot think clearly. Brain fog descends and patients can get flustered and anxious. The authors of this study created ‘socially defeated’ mice by putting them under the strain of being repeatedly exposed to an ‘alpha’ mouse. The stress basically causes inflammation in the brian cells and this reduces the effectiveness of the certain aspects of the memory.
Professor John Sheridan, one of the study’s co-authors, said:
“Stress releases immune cells from the bone marrow and those cells can traffic to brain areas associated with neuronal activation in response to stress.
They’re being called to the brain, to the center of memory.”