Short-term stress lasting as little as a few hours can impair brain-cell communication in areas associated with learning and memory, according to Dr. Tallie Z. Baram, lead author of a new study in the current edition of the Journal of Neuroscience. It has been known that severe stress lasting weeks or months can impair cell communication in the brain’s learning and memory region, but this study provides the first evidence that short-term stress has the same effect. Baram, the Danette Shepard Chair in Neurological Sciences in the School of Medicine, added that the findings can play an important role in developing drugs that might prevent these undesirable effects and offer insights into why some people are forgetful or have difficulty retaining information during stressful situations.