Chronic stress can cause permanent brain damage and raise the risk of schizophrenia, according to a new study. Scientists found that stress activates immune cells that damages and changes the brain. Researchers noted that this could then lead to mental disorders.
Lead researcher Professor Dr. Georg Juckel and his team at the LWL university clinic at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), examined certain types of phagocytes, particularly microglia.
While these phagocytes normally help repair synapses between nerve cells in the brain as well as stimulate their growth, activation of microglia could damage nerves cells and trigger inflammation.
Scientists also found a dose response as the more frequently microglia get triggered due to stress, the more they are inclined to remain in the destructive mode. This is troublesome because this type of harmful mode can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing mental illnesses like schizophrenia.