Mitochondria interface genetic/epigenetic responses to psychological stress

This 2015 Pennsylvania rodent study found: “Mitochondria can regulate complex whole-body physiological responses, impacting stress perception at the cellular and organismal levels. Mitochondrial dysfunctions altered the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, sympathetic adrenal–medullary activation and catecholamine levels, the inflammatory cytokine IL-6, circulating metabolites, and hippocampal gene expression responses to stress. Stress-induced [1] neuroendocrine, [2] inflammatory, [3] metabolic, and … Continue reading Mitochondria interface genetic/epigenetic responses to psychological stress

An interview with Dr. Rachel Yehuda on biological and conscious responses to stress

How Trauma and Resilience Cross Generations “The purpose of epigenetic changes, I think, is simply to increase the repertoire of possible responses. So let’s say, for some reason, your parents transmitted to you biologic changes that are very appropriate to starvation, but you don’t live in a culture where food is not plentiful. You’re just … Continue reading An interview with Dr. Rachel Yehuda on biological and conscious responses to stress

A possible link between stress responses and human cancers?

This 2015 UK rodent study found: “An unexpected role for the GR [glucocorticoid receptor] in promoting accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis. We also identify reduced GR expression in several common human cancers, thereby implicating GR as a novel tumor suppressor gene.” One of the researchers said: “Cancer is caused by cell division going wrong, but … Continue reading A possible link between stress responses and human cancers?

Can you give emotionally informed yet reasoned responses to moral questions within 3 seconds?

Could you give a 3-second informed decision that reflected your true feelings about this statement? “Inflicting emotional harm is just as bad as inflicting physical harm.” Could you then express your confidence about your answer on a 1-7 scale within 1 second? How about your 3-second response to this statement? “Developing a child’s character is … Continue reading Can you give emotionally informed yet reasoned responses to moral questions within 3 seconds?

Fear extinction is the learned inhibition of retrieval of previously acquired responses

This 2014 rodent study showed that fear extinction doesn’t depend on memory retrieval: “These results show that extinction and retrieval are separate processes and strongly suggest that extinction is triggered or gated by the conditioned stimulus even in the absence of retrieval.” The key to my understanding this finding came from a definition in another … Continue reading Fear extinction is the learned inhibition of retrieval of previously acquired responses

Task performance and beliefs about task responses are solely cerebral exercises

This 2013 human study provided details of which areas of the cerebrum participated in objective performance of a task vs. the subjects’ subjective confidence in their task responses: “These results suggest the existence of functional brain networks indexing objective performance and accuracy of subjective beliefs distinctively expressed in a set of stable mental states.” The … Continue reading Task performance and beliefs about task responses are solely cerebral exercises

Face-selective neurons maintain consistent visual responses across months

This 2014 primate study provided additional details on the specialized brain circuits for recognizing faces: “The current finding that neurons commonly give similar responses upon seeing the same faces months apart raises the possibility that some neurons might respond the same way to the same individual faces over most of the animal’s lifespan.” But the … Continue reading Face-selective neurons maintain consistent visual responses across months

Experience-induced transgenerational programming of neuronal structure and functions

The second paper of Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance week was a 2017 German/Israeli review focused on: “The inter- and transgenerational effects of stress experience prior to and during gestation..the concept of stress-induced (re-)programming in more detail by highlighting epigenetic mechanisms and particularly those affecting the development of monoaminergic transmitter systems, which constitute the brain’s reward system..we offer … Continue reading Experience-induced transgenerational programming of neuronal structure and functions

Epigenetic effects of early life stress exposure

This 2017 Netherlands review subject was the lasting epigenetic effects of early-life stress: “Exposure to stress during critical periods in development can have severe long-term consequences..One of the key stress response systems mediating these long-term effects of stress is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis..early life stress (ELS) exposure has been reported to have numerous consequences on … Continue reading Epigenetic effects of early life stress exposure

Epigenetic effects of THC differ between female adolescents and adults

This 2017 Italian rodent study found: “THC [delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound of cannabis] exposure affects histone modifications in the brain of female rats in a region- and age-specific manner. Specifically, THC acts on different targets depending on the considered brain area and, remarkably, the adolescent brain is generally more sensitive to THC than the adult … Continue reading Epigenetic effects of THC differ between female adolescents and adults