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Did You Know… #57

Researchers have discovered that hippocampal volume is smaller in chronically depressed patients and not in those who have recovered. And up to 18% smaller in women who had been abused as children. The mechanism underlying this finding is believed to be because stressful experiences release cortisol, the stress hormone, which in small doses readies us for fight or flight, but repeated and frequent exposure to this hormone causes neurons in the hippocampi to wither and die. And hippocampal volume matters because it is mainly in the hippocampi, where we process and sort our memories from short-term to long-term memories, that neurogenesis takes place.