McEwen BS. Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. Eur J Pharmacol 583: 174-185

Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue Box 165, New York, NY 10065, United States.
European Journal of Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.53). 05/2008; 583(2-3):174-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2007.11.071
Source: PubMed


Stress begins in the brain and affects the brain, as well as the rest of the body. Acute stress responses promote adaptation and survival via responses of neural, cardiovascular, autonomic, immune and metabolic systems. Chronic stress can promote and exacerbate pathophysiology through the same systems that are dysregulated. The burden of chronic stress and accompanying changes in personal behaviors (smoking, eating too much, drinking, poor quality sleep; otherwise referred to as "lifestyle") is called allostatic overload. Brain regions such as hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and amygdala respond to acute and chronic stress and show changes in morphology and chemistry that are largely reversible if the chronic stress lasts for weeks. However, it is not clear whether prolonged stress for many months or years may have irreversible effects on the brain. The adaptive plasticity of chronic stress involves many mediators, including glucocorticoids, excitatory amino acids, endogenous factors such as brain neurotrophic factor (BDNF), polysialated neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The role of this stress-induced remodeling of neural circuitry is discussed in relation to psychiatric illnesses, as well as chronic stress and the concept of top-down regulation of cognitive, autonomic and neuroendocrine function. This concept leads to a different way of regarding more holistic manipulations, such as physical activity and social support as an important complement to pharmaceutical therapy in treatment of the common phenomenon of being "stressed out". Policies of government and the private sector play an important role in this top-down view of minimizing the burden of chronic stress and related lifestyle (i.e. allostatic overload).

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Available from: Bruce S Mcewen, Jun 01, 2015
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    • "Como consequência, o distresse faz menção à condição de vulnerabilidade do indivíduo ao adoecimento derivada do excesso de sobrecarga adaptativa (Feldman, Dunn, Stemke, Bell, & Greeson, 2014), sendo, também, entendido como sofrimento psicológico provocado pelo estresse e facilitador para o aparecimento de doenças (Anderson et al., 2013; Sklar, Groessl, O´Connell, Davidson , & Aarons , 2013). O distresse é considerado um dos indicado - res de saúde mental mais importantes para ras - treamento de vulnerabilidade ao desenvolvimen - to nhas de investigação ( Stroebe & Stroebe , 1995 ) , tendo em vista as comprovações de que seus efeitos sobre a saúde podem ser tanto diretos , al - terando o funcionamento neurofi siológico , como indiretos , ao afetar a manifestação de compor - tamentos preventivos ou infl uenciar negativa - mente o progresso , tratamento e recuperação das doenças ( Drapeau et al. , 2012 ; McEwen , 2008 ; Monroe , 2008 ; Sklar et al . ,2013 ). "
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    ABSTRACT: This research aimed to collect data about self-perception of stress in Aracaju (SE), as well as to identify the presence of distress, to characterize the sociodemographic profile and health habits of the sample and map out relationships of these profiles on the variability of stress and distress. The sampling was performed by fl ow point, with 2135 adults that were in the main commercial center of Aracaju (SE). It used a questionnaire for characterization the sociodemographic and health profiles, whereas the stress and distress were measured by Faces Scale (seven points). For multivariate statistical analysis, it estimated the impact of sociodemographic and health variables on stress by linear regression, and on distress with logistic regression. Concerning the results, 15.1% of participants showed distress and the mean of the faces scale was three points (standard deviation = 1.5). The variables income, gender, to smoke and physical activity practice showed statistical significance in relation to stress. In modeling by linear and logistic regression, to smoke and female sex have been additive impact on stress. The average family income (equal to or above ten minimum wages) and practice regular physical activity have been subtractive impact on stress. We also discussed, besides the models, features of stress measure and differences observed in analysis by linear and logistic regression. At the end, study limitations were highlighted, especially concerning the choice of Faces Scale, and suggestions for further research were also made.
    Temas em Psicologia 08/2015; 23(2):341-354. DOI:10.9788/TP2015.2-08
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    • "These actions support our ability to grapple with acutely stressful experiences, which is adaptive in the short term. But when the system is continuously activated due to chronic stressors , excessive " wear and tear " is placed on the body (McEwen 2008). Thus, individuals who are buffered from undue elevations in stress hormones are likely going to enjoy better health in the long run, though the biological pathways for these effects are still being characterized. "
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    ABSTRACT: Social support from close relationship partners is an important resource for coping with stress, particularly during childhood. We discuss ethical challenges associated with studying stress and its social buffering in the laboratory, as well as emerging evidence regarding two potential neural substrates for the social buffering of stress: hypothalamic oxytocin activity and activation of areas in the prefrontal cortex associated with effective self-regulation. We also address the role of early-life social experiences in shaping brain development, as well as recommendations for practice and policy that would advance the ethical treatment of children and reduce social inequalities in early-life experiences and opportunities—for example, investing in programs that prevent child maltreatment and facilitating access to high-quality child care for economically disadvantaged families. We also debate the ethical implications of using oxytocin nasal sprays to simulate the stress-reducing properties of social support and advise waiting for more evidence before recommending their use.
    AJOB Neuroscience 07/2015; 6(3):34-42. DOI:10.1080/21507740.2015.1047054
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    • "Positive coping may have protective effects because it serves to buffer stress. The experience of stress is not only harmful for mental health, but also has direct physiological effects operating via hormonal and immunological pathways (McEwen, 2008), exacerbating common physical problems of late life, such as cardiovascular disease, and suppressing resistance to infection. Conversely, negative religious coping responses may have just the opposite effects, increasing stress levels and thereby exacerbating risk for mental and physical problems. "
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    ABSTRACT: For many individuals, religion provides important cognitive resources for coping with stressors, especially in older adulthood. Although older adults are thought to make more use of these coping strategies than those at younger ages, less is known about how patterns of use change during the span of older adulthood. In a largely Christian sample of U.S. older adults, positive and negative religious coping were measured between 2 and 5 times over a period of 11 years (N = 1,075). Growth mixture modeling extracted latent classes of growth. The optimal solution for positive coping indicated a five-class structure (high, stable; high, declining moderately; high, declining rapidly; low, increasing; and low, stable) and the optimal negative coping solution had three classes (low, declining; low, increasing; and high, declining). Nominal logistic regression examined the relationship of individual characteristics with latent class. Education, religious commitment, religious attendance, and religious doubt were related to positive coping trajectory class. Only religious doubt was related to negative coping class. © The Author(s) 2015.
    07/2015; DOI:10.1177/0164027515593347
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