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September 22, 2002

"Ah, my stressed out childhood it the reason..."

The Globe and Mail: Breaking News As many as one-third of his teen patients come to him complaining of stomachaches or headaches, but usually he is able to rule out any organic problem. Stress is what's making them feel sick.Many children wind up with weight problems - such as the seven-year-old boy who had chicken nuggets washed down with Coke for breakfast. His father was a guy who lived on the edge, who gets financing for a new car and then immediately gets it repossessed. The kid knows about the financial problems, and eating is his way of dealing with it. As well, poor children appear to be more stressed than rich kids.It's no secret that social status has a direct impact on health. People with low incomes suffer from much higher rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and a host of other lifestyle-related conditions. They also have a markedly lower life expectancy. Dr. Lupien also has found intriguing evidence that stress may make it harder for children to learn because it shrinks part of their brain. In several experiments with adults, she established that cortisol plays an important role in memory. But at high levels over long periods of time, its role reverses. It impairs memory and learning by actually reducing the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that turns short-term memories into long-term ones."

Posted by jason at September 22, 2002 09:05 AM