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

DNA methylation and childhood adversity

This 2017 Georgia human review covered: “Recent studies, primarily focused on the findings from human studies, to indicate the role of DNA methylation in the associations between childhood adversity and cardiometabolic disease in adulthood. In particular, we focused on DNA methylation modifications in genes regulating the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis as well as the immune system.” Recommendations … Continue reading DNA methylation and childhood adversity

The pain societies instill into children

The human subjects of this 2017 Swiss study had previously been intentionally traumatized by Swiss society: “Swiss former indentured child laborers (Verdingkinder) were removed as children from their families by the authorities due to different reasons (poverty, being born out of wedlock) and were placed to live and work on farms. This was a practice … Continue reading The pain societies instill into children

How to cure the ultimate causes of migraines?

Most of the spam I get on this blog comes in as ersatz comments on The hypothalamus couples with the brainstem to cause migraines. I don’t know what it is about the post that attracts internet bots. The unwanted attention is too bad because the post represents a good personal illustration of “changes in the … Continue reading How to cure the ultimate causes of migraines?