This 2019 German human study found: “A critical role of BDNF [brain-derived neurotrophic factor] methylation in human amygdala response to negative emotional stimuli, whereby: High BDNF methylation rates were for the first time shown to be associated with a high reactivity in the amygdala; and High BDNF methylation and high amygdala reactivity were associated with … Continue reading Emotional responses and BDNF methylation
This 2018 US Veterans Administration review subject was resiliency and stress responses: “Neurobiological and behavioral responses to stress are highly variable. Exposure to a similar stressor can lead to heterogeneous outcomes — manifesting psychopathology in one individual, but having minimal effect, or even enhancing resilience, in another. We highlight aspects of stress response modulation related … Continue reading Resiliency in stress responses
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 [HPA] axis, sympathetic adrenal–medullary activation and catecholamine levels, the inflammatory cytokine IL-6, circulating metabolites, and hippocampal gene expression responses to stress. Stress-induced neuroendocrine, inflammatory, metabolic, and transcriptional responses … Continue reading Mitochondria interface genetic/epigenetic responses to psychological 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
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?
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?
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
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
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
This 2019 McGill rodent study found: “Prenatal stress exacerbates pain after injury. Analysis of mRNA expression of genes related to epigenetic regulation and stress responses in the frontal cortex and hippocampus, brain structures implicated in chronic pain, showed distinct sex and region-specific patterns of dysregulation. In general, mRNA expression was most frequently altered in the … Continue reading Prenatal stress heightened adult chronic pain