Links for Keyword: Stress

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A specific pattern of neuronal firing in a brain reward circuit instantly rendered mice vulnerable to depression-like behavior induced by acute severe stress, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health has found. When researchers used a high-tech method to mimic the pattern, previously resilient mice instantly succumbed to a depression-like syndrome of social withdrawal and reduced pleasure-seeking — they avoided other animals and lost their sweet tooth. When the firing pattern was inhibited in vulnerable mice, they instantly became resilient. "For the first time, we have shown that split-second control of specific brain circuitry can switch depression-related behavior on and off with flashes of an LED light," explained Ming-Hu Han, Ph.D. External Web Site Policy, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, a grantee of NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). "These results add to mounting clues about the mechanism of fast-acting antidepressant responses." Han, Eric Nestler, M.D., Ph.D. External Web Site Policy,of Mount Sinai, and colleagues, report on their study in the journal Nature. In a companion article, NIMH grantees Kay Tye, Ph.D. External Web Site Policy, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., and Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. External Web Site Policy, of Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., used the same cutting-edge technique to control mouse brain activity in real time. Their study reveals that the same reward circuit neuronal activity pattern had the opposite effect when the depression-like behavior was induced by daily presentations of chronic, unpredictable mild physical stressors, instead of by shorter-term exposure to severe social stress.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 17604 - Posted: 12.14.2012

By Scicurious Animals don’t handle stress well. I’m not talking about acute stressors, the predator charging at you through the brush, you run away and it’s over. We handle that stress very well indeed. But severe stress, losing a job, a divorce, a death in the family, these can really wear us down. Severe life stressors can not only impact your physical health, they also often occur before the onset of mental illness, particularly major depressive disorder. Depression takes many forms (lack of interest in activities, sleep changes, eating changes, severely depressed mood), but one of the most debilitating ones is the way that it impacts motivation. While some stressors (like, say, a deadline), might before have been a motivator, making you work to get it done, during depression, these stressors become insurmountable obstacles. Things you did before you couldn’t possibly get done now. You’ll never make the deadline. You can’t run the race. Stress can’t motivate you any more. What has changed? To look at this, Lemos et al at the University of Washington, Seattle, looked at one of the signals in response to stress in the brain: corticotropin releasing factor (CRF). CRF is the first step in the process that eventually allows cortisol to be released into the bloodstream, the molecule we usually associate with stress. You can see at the top of the chain there CRF being released from the hypothalamus. From there the next step in the chain is the anterior pituitary, and from there adrenocorticotropic releasing hormone (ACTH) is released, and stimulates the adrenal glands (sitting in little pads of fat above your kidneys) to release cortisol. But in the brain, it’s more complicated than that. CRF isn’t just released from the hypothalamus to the pituitary, it’s released to other regions, too. © 2012 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 17539 - Posted: 11.27.2012

By Wray Herbert In 2009 a regiment of Danish soldiers, the Guard Hussars, was deployed for a six-month tour in Afghanistan's arid Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold. They were stationed along with British soldiers—270 in all—at a forward operating base called Armadillo. Although none of the Guard Hussars were killed during the tour of duty, they nonetheless experienced many horrors of battle. A commander was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, and a night patrol ended in a firefight that killed and dismembered several Taliban combatants. The Guard Hussars' war experience is graphically depicted in the award-winning documentary film Armadillo, which debuted in 2010. It follows the soldiers from their emotional farewells in Denmark through their months in combat and, finally, back to joyous homecomings and family reunions. The film is a study of the inner lives of young men as they experience the excitement and camaraderie, the tedium and—mostly—the terror and trauma of war. Coincidentally, these same soldiers were also the subject of another, very different kind of study. At the same time that the film was being shot, the men were part of a larger group of Danish soldiers who were being scientifically observed and tested for emerging symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. A large team of Danish and American psychological scientists, led by Dorthe Berntsen of Aarhus University, wanted to do what had never been done before in this field of research: instead of studying soldiers who were already suffering from PTSD, they decided to assess young recruits before they were sent off to war, when they were still relatively unscathed, then to record them during the war experience, and finally to follow them back home and through several months of readjustment. In this way, the scientists hoped to see why some soldiers develop PTSD and others do not and how the symptoms of the disorder progress. © 2012 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 17528 - Posted: 11.24.2012

By BENEDICT CAREY Hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress have recently contacted a husband-and-wife team who work out of their home in suburban South Carolina to seek help. Many are desperate, pleading for treatment and willing to travel to get it. The soldiers have no interest in traditional talking cures or prescription drugs that have given them little relief. They are lining up to try an alternative: MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, a party drug that surfaced in the 1980s and ’90s that can induce pulses of euphoria and a radiating affection. Government regulators criminalized the drug in 1985, placing it on a list of prohibited substances that includes heroin and LSD. But in recent years, regulators have licensed a small number of labs to produce MDMA for research purposes. “I feel survivor’s guilt, both for coming back from Iraq alive and now for having had a chance to do this therapy,” said Anthony, a 25-year-old living near Charleston, S.C., who asked that his last name not be used because of the stigma of taking the drug. “I’m a different person because of it.” In a paper posted online Tuesday by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, Michael and Ann Mithoefer, the husband-and-wife team offering the treatment — which combines psychotherapy with a dose of MDMA — write that they found 15 of 21 people who recovered from severe post-traumatic stress in the therapy in the early 2000s reported minor to virtually no symptoms today. Many said they have received other kinds of therapy since then, but not with MDMA. The Mithoefers — he is a psychiatrist and she is a nurse — collaborated on the study with researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. © 2012 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 17513 - Posted: 11.20.2012

By Laura Sanders The effects of a baby’s rough start can linger. An early stressful environment during a baby girl’s first year was associated with altered brain behavior and signs of anxiety in her late teens, scientists report online November 11 in Nature Neuroscience. Although the results are preliminary, they may help reveal how negative experiences early on can sculpt the brain. Studies in animals have pointed out how tough times in childhood can influence the brain and the animals’ behavior later in life. But it’s been hard to figure out how that process works in people, says Lawrence Price, a psychiatrist and clinical neuroscientist at Brown University in Providence, R.I. “One of the real advances of this paper is that it helps move us along on that pathway,” he says. The study, led by Cory Burghy of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, drew from the Wisconsin Study of Family and Work, which in 1990 recruited pregnant women in southern Wisconsin at prenatal visits. Three times during the first year of their babies’ lives, the mothers reported whether they were experiencing stressful situations such as depression, marital conflict, money woes or parenting stress. Researchers assumed that women who reported higher stress levels created a more stressful situation for their baby. Four and a half years later, daughters whose moms reported higher levels of stress had more of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood. That observation suggests the girls had trouble shutting down a hyperactive stress response. The same effect wasn’t found in boys. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 17476 - Posted: 11.12.2012

By Scicurious Stress is generally not a good thing. Most of us who live stressful lives (which, I suppose, would be all of us), are well aware of this. We try to reduce our stress, or even stress about how stressed we are. Traumatic stress increases the risk for all sorts of psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder. But not all stresses are created equal, even the traumatic ones. And it turns out that it’s not the stress itself that is important…it’s whether or not you have any control over it. A stress that you can control is a very different one from a stress that you can’t. I usually think of a stress you cannot control as something like the illness of a family member, as compared to a stress you can control, say, the stress involved in training for and running a marathon (which is definitely a physical stressor). These are both stresses, but they aren’t alike. While the stress that you cannot control is often a very traumatic experience, and can predispose people to psychiatric disorders, a controllable stress is actually a good event. Not only does it blunt the impact of the stressor itself, it can be protective against the detriments of future uncontrolled stresses. Scientists call this “behavioral immunization” against future stress. Behavioral immunization involves the recruitment of very specific brain regions, especially the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain. After exposure to a controllable stress, there is increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, and it is thought that the increase in activity is important for the development of behavioral immunization. If you stop this increased activity from taking place during controllable stress, you can prevent behavioral immunization. © 2012 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 17461 - Posted: 11.07.2012

Sitting exams and tests is often a nerve-racking experience, but being anxious beforehand may boost a candidate's grades, researchers say. A study published in the British Journal of Psychology finds being anxious only has a negative impact on results if a child's memory is poor. But if a young person has a good memory, a tendency to feel anxious is linked with getting better marks. The research assessed 96 children aged 12 to 14 in memory and anxiety tests. A questionnaire established how anxious the children usually felt, and the results were measured against their ability to perform computerised tests involving "complex" or working-memory skills. "We found that for individuals with low working-memory capacity, increases in [a tendency towards] anxiety were related to decreases in cognitive test performance," the study says. "For those with high working-memory capacity, however, the pattern of results was reversed. An increase in [a tendency towards] anxiety was linearly associated with higher test scores. "These effects were not better accounted for by gender, age, or time of testing." Poor memory The researchers say the results of the study should encourage education professionals to target help at anxious children with poor complex memory skills. BBC © 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 17367 - Posted: 10.13.2012

Virginia Hughes On a chilly, January night in 1986, Elizabeth Ebaugh carried a bag of groceries across the quiet car park of a shopping plaza in the suburbs of Washington DC. She got into her car and tossed the bag onto the empty passenger seat. But as she tried to close the door, she found it blocked by a slight, unkempt man with a big knife. He forced her to slide over and took her place behind the wheel. The man drove aimlessly along country roads, ranting about his girlfriend's infidelity and the time he had spent in jail. Ebaugh, a psychotherapist who was 30 years old at the time, used her training to try to calm the man and negotiate her freedom. But after several hours and a few stops, he took her to a motel, watched a pornographic film and raped her. Then he forced her back into the car. She pleaded with him to let her go, and he said that he would. So when he stopped on a bridge at around 2 a.m. and told her to get out, she thought she was free. Then he motioned for her to jump. “That's the time where my system, I think, just lost it,” Ebaugh recalls. Succumbing to the terror and exhaustion of the night, she fainted. Ebaugh awoke in freefall. The man had thrown her, limp and handcuffed, off the bridge four storeys above a river reservoir. When she hit the frigid water, she turned onto her back and started kicking. “At that point, there was no part of me that thought I wasn't going to make it,” she says. Few people will experience psychological and physical abuse as terrible as the abuse Ebaugh endured that night. But extreme stress is not unusual. In the United States, an estimated 50–60% of people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, whether through military combat, assault, a serious car accident or a natural disaster. Acute stress triggers an intense physiological response and cements an association in the brain's circuits between the event and fear. If this association lingers for more than a month, as it does for about 8% of trauma victims, it is considered to be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The three main criteria for diagnosis are recurring and frightening memories, avoidance of any potential triggers for such memories and a heightened state of arousal. © 2012 Nature Publishing Group,

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 17360 - Posted: 10.11.2012

By AMANDA SCHAFFER For years, researchers have investigated how the body loses the ability to produce enough insulin, a hallmark of diabetes. Now an intriguing theory is emerging, and it suggests a potential treatment that few scientists had considered. The hormone insulin helps shuttle glucose, or blood sugar, from the bloodstream into individual cells to be used as energy. But the body can become resistant to insulin, and the beta cells of the pancreas, which produce the hormone, must work harder to compensate. Eventually, the thinking goes, they lose the ability to keep up. “We used to say that the beta cells poop out,” said Alan Saltiel, director of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan. In reality, he added, this shorthand meant “we have no idea what’s going on.” Some evidence suggested that large numbers of these cells died through a process of programmed cell death called apoptosis. But that was at best a partial explanation. Now, researchers at Columbia University have put forth a surprising alternative. In mice with Type 2 diabetes, the researchers showed that beta cells that had lost function were not dead at all. Most remained alive, but in a changed form. They reverted to an earlier developmental, “progenitor,” state. It’s as if these cells are “stepping back in time to a point where they look like they might have looked during their development,” said Dr. Domenico Accili, director of the Columbia University Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center, who led the new work. © 2012 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 17321 - Posted: 10.02.2012

By DAVID TULLER Chronic fatigue syndrome is not caused by a mouse retrovirus, according to a study initiated by the National Institutes of Health to settle what had become a contentious scientific question. The long-awaited results, posted online Tuesday in the journal mBio, found no link between the illness, also called myalgic encephalomyelitis, and mouse leukemia retroviruses, including one called XMRV. Two earlier studies had identified higher levels of the viruses in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Later research did not confirm the finding, and scientists blamed laboratory contamination for the earlier results. The N.I.H. asked Dr. Ian Lipkin, a virologist at Columbia, to investigate. Dr. Lipkin recruited in the effort scientists who initially reported the link to mouse retroviruses, and they serve as authors on the mBio paper. In the study, none of the researchers reported finding mouse leukemia viruses in any of 293 blood samples, half from people with chronic fatigue syndrome and half from those without it. An estimated one million people in the United States have the condition; many are severely disabled and homebound. Dr. Lipkin said that he viewed chronic fatigue syndrome as a major illness and intended to use blood samples he had obtained to investigate the causes. Copyright 2012 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 17272 - Posted: 09.18.2012

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News Having a highly demanding job, but little control over it, could be a deadly combination, UK researchers say. They analysed 13 existing European studies covering nearly 200,000 people and found "job strain" was linked to a 23% increased risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart disease. The risk to the heart was much smaller than for smoking or not exercising, the Lancet medical journal report said. The British Heart Foundation said how people reacted to work stress was key. Job strain is a type of stress. The research team at University College London said working in any profession could lead to strain, but it was more common in lower skilled workers. Doctors who have a lot of decision-making in their jobs would be less likely to have job strain than someone working on a busy factory production line. Freedom There has previously been conflicting evidence on the effect of job strain on the heart. In this paper, the researchers analysed combined data from 13 studies. At the beginning of each of the studies, people were asked whether they had excessive workloads or insufficient time to do their job as well as questions around how much freedom they had to make decisions. BBC © 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 17263 - Posted: 09.17.2012

By Laura Sanders Changes in the brains of mice that were isolated as young pups may help explain the profound behavioral problems of severely neglected children. The mouse experiments suggest that neglect during a specific developmental window irreversibly stunts brain development, researchers report in the Sept. 14 Science. Over the last decade, researchers have catalogued brain deficits and behavioral problems in Romanian orphans who were raised in bare-bones environments with little social stimulation. Many of these children display hyperactivity, impulsivity and compulsive behavior such as arm flapping. Although superficially friendly, these kids have trouble forming meaningful relationships. By studying mice that had been isolated early in life, researchers led by Gabriel Corfas of Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School hoped to uncover how social deprivation can affect the developing brain. After the mice had weaned, the researchers put them into one of three environments: One was a deluxe suite, enriched with fresh toys every other day and populated by friends of similar ages, one was a standard laboratory cage holding four mice, and one was a holding cell for total isolation. After two weeks, mice in the deluxe suite and the regular cage showed no abnormalities in their behavior or brains. But mice that were isolated showed big changes. These animals were socially stunted, showing less signs of exploratory behavior and a diminished working memory. What’s more, the researchers uncovered stunted development in the brain’s white matter, which helps nerve cells communicate. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 17259 - Posted: 09.15.2012

By Laura Sanders A single four-month deployment to Afghanistan is associated with brain changes and diminished attention, Dutch scientists report. Most changes went away a year and a half after returning from combat, suggesting that the brain can largely heal itself — and that longer breaks between combat tours might be a good idea. The study, which focused on healthy Dutch soldiers, reveals how the brain responds to stress outside of a laboratory, says clinical neuroscientist Rajita Sinha of the Yale University School of Medicine. “It’s a nice way to start looking at natural high levels of stress we experience as humans,” she says. Although the soldiers came back mentally and physically healthy, in Afghanistan they had fought, come under enemy fire and seen their fellow soldiers and civilians wounded or dead. Researchers led by Guido van Wingen of the University of Amsterdam conducted brain scans while the soldiers performed a lab test that required them to hold several numbers in their memory simultaneously. Initially, the researchers found no brain differences between 33 soldiers who were about to be deployed for the first time and 26 who were still in training. Nor were there differences in a lab task that required intense concentration for several minutes. But the story changed after some soldiers experienced combat, the team reports online September 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 17232 - Posted: 09.07.2012

The stresses of poverty — such as crowded conditions, financial worry, and lack of adequate child care — lead to impaired learning ability in children from impoverished backgrounds, according to a theory by a researcher funded by the National Institutes of Health. The theory is based on several years of studies matching stress hormone levels to behavioral and school readiness test results in young children from impoverished backgrounds. Further, the theory holds, finding ways to reduce stress in the home and school environment could improve children's well being and allow them to be more successful academically. High levels of stress hormones influence the developing circuitry of children's brains, inhibiting such higher cognitive functions such as planning, impulse and emotional control, and attention. Known collectively as executive functions, these mental abilities are important for academic success. Clancy Blair, Ph.D., of New York University, concludes that this altered stress response and its effect on executive function helps to explain one way in which poverty affects children’s development of school readiness skills and later classroom performance. Although poverty is considered a major source of stress, the findings also suggest that other sources of stress may affect children in all income groups — for example, from divorce, harsh parenting, or struggles with a learning disability.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 17217 - Posted: 08.29.2012

By Chelsea Conaboy Brian Sullivan, a former Army bomb technician, quit treatment for post-traumatic stress when, he said, doctors began pushing him to take medications he didn’t want. His symptoms, however, did not quit. Traffic jams made the 42-year-old Foxborough native anxious. Sullivan couldn’t go into a crowded mall. And he was haunted by the memory of a man who approached him while he was working to disable an improvised explosive device during one of two deployments to Afghanistan, he said. Sullivan faced a choice: Shoot, or risk that the man was a suicide bomber. He didn’t fire, but the stress stuck with him. Last year, Sullivan, who now lives in Virginia, began using a smartphone application developed by the Department of Defense to guide him through breathing exercises when his anxiety began to build. The same agency launched another app earlier this year for veterans to use while in a particular kind of therapy, revisiting difficult memories with a professional. Sullivan became curious, and this summer returned to treatment. Ten years ago, the resources available to veterans with PTSD who were unwilling or unable, because of geography or other factors, to be treated by a therapist were limited. Researchers are developing technologies to reach people like Sullivan wherever they are, putting tools directly into their hands through programs online and on their smartphones. © 2012 NY Times Co.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 17206 - Posted: 08.27.2012

by Michael Slezak Despite the fact that women live longer than men, their brains seems to age faster. The reason? Possibly a more stressful life. When people age, some genes become more active while others become less so. In the human brain, these changes can be observed through the "transcriptome" – a set of RNA molecules that indicate the activity of genes within a population of cells. When Mehmet Somel, a computational biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues compared the transcriptome of 55 male and female brains of different ages, they were surprised to find that the pattern of gene activation and deactivation that occurs with ageing appeared to progress faster in women than in men. This was particularly apparent in an area of the pre-frontal cortex. "This was just the opposite of what we'd originally expected," says Somel, who was at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences in China when he did the research. He says that given the fact that females have a longer lifespan, they had expected to see slower or later ageing-related changes in their brain. "But it fits everyday observations on ageing. Not all organs within an individual age at the same rate," he says. Somel's team compared the expression of more than 13,000 genes in four brain regions. In one region – the superior frontal gyrus – they found 667 genes that were expressed differently in men and women during ageing. Of those, 98 per cent were skewed towards faster ageing in women. Some of these gene changes have previously been linked to general cognitive decline and degenerative disease. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 17100 - Posted: 07.28.2012

By Linda Searing, THE QUESTION Might fear of childbirth contribute to a longer labor? THIS STUDY involved 2,206 women who were pregnant with one child and had planned to have a vaginal birth. Based on their answers to questions about childbirth that they gave when they were 32 weeks pregnant, 165 women (about 8 percent) were classified as fearful. Those women spent more time in labor than did those who were not fearful: eight hours, on average, compared with 6 hours 28 minutes. Also, emergency Caesarean deliveries and births that involved the use of forceps or other instruments were more common among fearful women. Overall, 25 percent of women who feared childbirth delivered vaginally without intervention, compared with 44 percent of those who were not afraid. WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? Pregnant women. Worries related to childbirth generally focus on pain and how to cope with it. Medical experts say the pain varies from woman to woman and depends in part on a woman’s anatomy, the size and position of her baby and the strength of contractions as well as her emotional state and attitude. CAVEATS Some data in the study came from the women’s responses on questionnaires. FIND THIS STUDY June 27 online issue of BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (www.bjog.org). © 1996-2012 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 16997 - Posted: 07.03.2012

By Scicurious When I saw all the headlines going around focused on this paper, I KNEW I had to check it out. Heck, sometimes Twitter is faster than my Pubmed alerts! “Chronic Stress, Mood Disorders Linked In New Research On Rats“, “Stress Blocks Gene That Guards Brain Against Depression” The link between stress, dysregulations of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, and depressive-like symptoms in animals and depression in humans is actually really well known. We can put down our “stress linked to depression” headlines, now. In fact, other papers from the same lab as this paper have shown the link between stress and depression many, many times. We know stress correlates with depression and that stress can produce depressive like symptoms in animals. But this paper? This paper is very new, and very cool! Not because it shows a link between stress and depression. This new finding, the gene neuritin, joins a group of things linking stress and depression, including BDNF, glucocorticoid receptors, serotonin 1A receptors, and many more. This is not the first link between stress and depression and it won’t be the last. But it IS a cool finding. Because it presents us with a new antidepressant target, and we can always use one of those. All of the clinical antidepressants that are currently on the market work through one specific mechanism: they increase the levels of certain neurotransmitters in your brain. © 2012 Scientific American,

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 16996 - Posted: 07.03.2012

Adults who were subjected to physical punishment such as spanking as children are more likely to experience mental disorders, say Canadian researchers who encourage other forms of discipline. Monday's issue of the journal Pediatrics includes a study on the proportion of illnesses such as depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse as well as personality disorders that may be attributable to physical punishment. Positive reinforcement techniques have more evidence backing them than physical punishment.Positive reinforcement techniques have more evidence backing them than physical punishment. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press) Physical punishment was defined as pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting in the absence of more severe maltreatment of a child through physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect or exposure to intimate partner violence. "It definitely points to the direction that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age and we need to be considering that when we're thinking about policy and programs so we can protect children from potentially harmful outcomes," said study author Tracie Afifi, who is in the department of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba. Afifi hopes the findings from the study that involved more than 34,000 U.S. adults will make parents think twice about spanking. © CBC 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 16990 - Posted: 07.02.2012

by Beverly Purdy The Medivac helicopter made a noisy descent to the landing pad at University Medical Center in Salt Lake City. The patient on board was on the final leg of a long journey home from South Africa. Jeremy Clark, an ambitious 23-year-old college graduate, had been on a Mormon mission in Johannesburg when he awoke one day unable to move his legs. He was briefly hospitalized there, but the South African doctors could not explain his sudden paralysis and found no evidence of injury or infection, so he was transferred back to the States by air ambulance. Medics wheeled Jeremy to the neurology ward, where I was waiting. They said he had been about three weeks into his two-year commitment in South Africa when one morning he did not show up for his assignment, nor did he answer his 
phone. Someone finally went to his apartment and found him lying there, immobilized. “He’s been like this for a week, doctor,” the medic told me. “He hasn’t spoken since this happened.” As the neurology resident, I needed to test Jeremy for a number of disorders, including multiple sclerosis (ms); myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular autoimmune disease that causes varying degrees of muscle weakness; Guillain-Barré syndrome, an acute condition associated with progressive muscle weakness and paralysis; and stroke. I would also have to perform a lumbar puncture to collect fluid from around the brain and inside the spinal cord to rule out infection. Although his symptoms didn’t quite support the diagnosis, I also wondered if he could have been exposed to a toxin that can cause paralysis, such as botulism or tetanus. © 2012, Kalmbach Publishing Co.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 16989 - Posted: 07.02.2012