Allostatic load biomarkers of chronic stress and impact on health and cognition.

Laboratory of Psychoneuroendocrinology of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress, Fernand-Seguin Research Centre, University of Montreal, Canada.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (Impact Factor: 10.28). 10/2009; 35(1):2-16. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2009.10.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The allostatic load model expands the stress-disease literature by proposing a temporal cascade of multi-systemic physiological dysregulations that contribute to disease trajectories. By incorporating an allostatic load index representing neuroendocrine, immune, metabolic, and cardiovascular system functioning, numerous studies have demonstrated greater prediction of morbidity and mortality over and beyond traditional detection methods employed in biomedical practice. This article reviews theoretical and empirical work using the allostatic load model vis-à-vis the effects of chronic stress on physical and mental health. Specific risk and protective factors associated with increased allostatic load are elucidated and policies for promoting successful aging are proposed.

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    ABSTRACT: Aging is associated with well-recognized alterations in brain function, some of which are reflected in cognitive decline. While less appreciated, there is also considerable evidence of socioemotional changes later in life, some of which are beneficial. In this review, we examine age-related changes and individual differences in four neuroendocrine systems-cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and oxytocin-as "difference makers" in these processes. This suite of interrelated hormonal systems actively coordinates regulatory processes in brain and behavior throughout development, and their level and function fluctuate during the aging process. Despite these facts, their specific impact in cognitive and socioemotional aging has received relatively limited study. It is known that chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol exert neurotoxic effects on the aging brain with negative impacts on cognition and socioemotional functioning. In contrast, the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone appear to have neuroprotective effects in cognitive aging, but may decrease prosociality. Higher levels of the neuropeptide oxytocin benefit socioemotional functioning, but little is known about the effects of oxytocin on cognition or about age-related changes in the oxytocin system. In this paper, we will review the role of these hormones in the context of cognitive and socioemotional aging. In particular, we address the aforementioned gap in the literature by: (1) examining both singular actions and interrelations of these four hormonal systems; (2) exploring their correlations and causal relationships with aspects of cognitive and socioemotional aging; and (3) considering multilevel internal and external influences on these hormone systems within the framework of explanatory pluralism. We conclude with a discussion of promising future research directions.
    Frontiers in Psychology 01/2014; 5:1595. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01595 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BackgroundAllostatic load (AL) measures overall physiological wear and tear on one's body, as a preclinical marker of pathophysiologic processes that precede the onset of disease. We studied the association of dietary habits with AL.MethodsConsecutive patients visiting a tertiary hospital Health Promotion Center from September 2009 to February 2010, older than 20 years with metabolic syndrome were selected for study (n = 204). By multivariable linear regression analysis, we investigated the association of various dietary habits evaluated by questionnaires.ResultsIn male, multivariable linear regression showed a significant negative association between fat preference and AL with BMI ≥ 30 (1st quartile [Q] vs. 2Q: β = -3.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], -6.26 to -1.16), a significant negative association between salt preference and AL with BMI 25-30 (β = -1.36; 95% CI, -2.46 to -0.26), a negative association between appetite control and AL with BMI < 25 (1Q vs. 3Q: β = -1.54; 95% CI, -3.00 to -0.096), a significant positive association between appetite control and AL with BMI 25-30 (1Q vs. 3Q: β = 1.30; 95% CI, 0.12 to 2.48), and a significant positive association between eating in response to food cues and AL in males with BMI 25-30 (1Q vs. 4Q: β = 1.09; 95% CI, 0.020 to 2.15).ConclusionOur results suggest that metabolic syndrome patients should be discouraged from eating fat and eating in response to food cues, and should be educated about nutrition and balanced diet.
    Korean Journal of Family Medicine 09/2013; 34(5):334. DOI:10.4082/kjfm.2013.34.5.334
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    ABSTRACT: Here we present a theory of human trauma and chronic stress, based on the practice of Somatic Experiencing(®) (SE), a form of trauma therapy that emphasizes guiding the client's attention to interoceptive, kinesthetic, and proprioceptive experience. SE™ claims that this style of inner attention, in addition to the use of kinesthetic and interoceptive imagery, can lead to the resolution of symptoms resulting from chronic and traumatic stress. This is accomplished through the completion of thwarted, biologically based, self-protective and defensive responses, and the discharge and regulation of excess autonomic arousal. We present this theory through a composite case study of SE treatment; based on this example, we offer a possible neurophysiological rationale for the mechanisms involved, including a theory of trauma and chronic stress as a functional dysregulation of the complex dynamical system formed by the subcortical autonomic, limbic, motor and arousal systems, which we term the core response network (CRN). We demonstrate how the methods of SE help restore functionality to the CRN, and we emphasize the importance of taking into account the instinctive, bodily based protective reactions when dealing with stress and trauma, as well as the effectiveness of using attention to interoceptive, proprioceptive and kinesthetic sensation as a therapeutic tool. Finally, we point out that SE and similar somatic approaches offer a supplement to cognitive and exposure therapies, and that mechanisms similar to those discussed in the paper may also be involved in the benefits of meditation and other somatic practices.
    Frontiers in Psychology 02/2015; 6:93. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00093 · 2.80 Impact Factor


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Jun 4, 2014