High concentrations of the stress hormone, Cortisol, in the body affect important DNA processes and increase the risk of long-term psychological consequences. These relationships are evident in a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy on patients with Cushing’s Syndrome, but the findings also open the door for new treatment strategies for other stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.
“If these results can be verified and repeated in other studies, they would have significance for future possibilities for treating stress-induced psychological consequences,” says Camilla Glad, postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition.
The uncommon disease, Cushing’s Syndrome, involves a substantial overproduction of Cortisol resulting from a benign tumor of the pituitary or adrenal gland. The condition is characterized by abdominal obesity, fat deposits in the face and neck, high blood pressure and diabetes. To a high extent, the affected individuals also risk suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, depression and cognitive impairment.