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BACKGROUND Stress-induced metabolic changes can have detrimental health effects. Newly developed paradigms to investigate stress in neuroimaging environments allow the assessment of brain activation changes in association with the perception of and the metabolic response to stress. METHODS We exposed human subjects to a psychosocial stressor in one(More)
Stress-related variation in the intrauterine milieu may impact brain development and emergent function, with long-term implications in terms of susceptibility for affective disorders. Studies in animals suggest limbic regions in the developing brain are particularly sensitive to exposure to the stress hormone cortisol. However, the nature, magnitude, and(More)
Because the brain undergoes dramatic changes during fetal development it is vulnerable to environmental insults. There is evidence that maternal stress and anxiety during pregnancy influences birth outcome but there are no studies that have evaluated the influence of stress during human pregnancy on brain morphology. In the current prospective longitudinal(More)
"Barker's hypothesis" emerged almost 25 years ago from epidemiological studies of birth and death records that revealed a high geographic correlation between rates of infant mortality and certain classes of later adult deaths as well as an association between birthweight and rates of adult death from ischemic heart disease. These observations led to a(More)
Smaller hippocampal volume is associated with psychiatric disorders. Variations in hippocampal volume are discussed as both a consequence of the neurotoxic effects of stress and as a pre-existing condition leading to increased vulnerability for cognitive and emotional impairments. To investigate whether early experience can account for variability in(More)
OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between intraindividual changes in cortisol responsiveness over pregnancy and the length of human gestation. STUDY DESIGN Pregnancy-related changes in the cortisol awakening response (CAR), which is a measure of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responsiveness, were assessed(More)
There is evidence that abnormal cerebral development during childhood is a risk factor for various cognitive and psychiatric disorders. There is not, however, sufficient normative data available on large samples of typically developing children, especially within the narrow preadolescent age range. We analyzed high resolution MRI images from 126 normally(More)
The metabolic effects of stress are known to have significant health effects in both humans and animals. Most of these effects are mediated by the major stress hormonal axis in the body, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Within the central nervous system (CNS), the hippocampus, the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex as part of the limbic system(More)
Previous experimental studies in humans have reported that the administration of cortisol impairs retrieval of hippocampal dependent, episodic memory. In particular, cortisol impaired recall of previously learnt words. In the present study, we investigated if cortisol also affects autobiographical memory, which reflects a subcategory of hippocampal(More)
Considerable evidence suggests that estrogen can have neuroprotective effects. However, recent results raised important questions regarding the conditions under which hormone therapy (HT) following menopause can be beneficial. It has been suggested that variables such as time of initiation and duration of HT use are of critical importance for beneficial(More)