News and Research About Stress

Stressed Men More Social?

Researchers have refuted the common belief that stress always causes aggressive behavior. Rather than showing the fight-or-flight response to stress, the study indicates that men show a "tend-and-befriend" response. Studies in the late 1990s first argued that women exhibited this response as a consequence of stress. (Psychological Science, June 2012; vol. 23, 6: pp. 651-660) Read more. 

Depression and Chronic Stress Accelerate Aging

People with recurrent depressions or those exposed to chronic stress exhibit shorter telomeres (outermost part of the chromosome) in white blood cells. With increasing age, telomeres shorten, and studies have shown that oxidative stress and inflammation accelerate shortening. Shorter telomere length has also been associated with recurrent depression and cortisol levels indicating exposure to chronic stress. (Biological Psychiatry, published online November 2011) Read more.

Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Explained

An article draws on the existing scientific literature to explain the positive effects of mindfulness meditation that help deal with the mental and physiological effects of stress. (Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2011; 6(6): 537-559) Read more.

Moderate to High Stress Leads to Higher Mortality Rate

According to the first study to show a direct link between stress trajectories and mortality in an aging population, men who experience persistently moderate or high levels of stressful life events over a number of years have a 50 percent higher mortality rate. And only a few factors protect against the stress. (Journal of Aging Research, published online) Read more. 

Driven to Drink: Alcoholics’ Children With Stress

New research reveals that children who have a parent with a history of alcohol abuse face a greater risk of consuming more alcohol after stressful situations. (Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 99(4), Oct. 2011:696–703) Read more. 

Stress and School Success

Handling stress appropriately in class and on the field can tip the scale toward success for the millions of students, according to new research. (Emotion, 2011; 11(4): 1000-1005) Read more.

Stress and the City

A new international study shows that two distinct brain regions that regulate emotion and stress are affected by city living. Being born and raised in a major urban area is associated with greater lifetime risk for anxiety and mood disorders. (Nature, 2011; 474(7352):498) Read more.

Early Adversity Linked to Stress Sensitivity

A new study suggests that people become depressed more easily following minor setbacks in part because they have experienced adversity early in life or previous depressive episodes, making them more sensitive to stress. (Journal of Psychiatric Research, published online April 5, 2011). Read more.

Stressful Events Cause Panic Symptoms to Increase Over Time 

Researchers at Brown University have found that some stressful life events cause panic symptoms to increase gradually over time, rather than to trigger an immediate panic attack. (Journal of Affective Disorders, published online June 11) Read more. 

Elevated Sodium Levels Lessen Stress Response

New research shows that elevated levels of sodium inhibit stress hormones that would otherwise be activated in stressful situations. (The Journal of Neuroscience, 31(14):5470-5476) Read more

Mild Stress Linked to Long-Term Disability

Even relatively mild stress can lead to long term disability and an inability to work, reveals a recent study: Subjects with mild stress were up to 70% more likely to receive disability benefits. (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, published online 21 March 2011) Read more.

Anxiety “Off Switch” Possibility

Scientists have made a recent breakthrough concerning how anxiety is regulated in the vertebrate brain. Their work may show how the brain normally shuts off anxiety, that is, by disrupting a specific set of neurons in the habenula brain region, which prevents normal response to stressful situations. (Current Biology, 20(24): 2211– 2216) Read more. 

Stress Changes Brain Function

Researchers have found that one exposure to acute stress affects information processing in the cerebellum, the area of the brain responsible for motor control and movement coordination and is involved in learning and memory formation. The results lead to a testable prediction that emotional stress could affect motor coordination and other cognitive functions, and may also prove to be applicable to the alleviation of PTSD, drug addiction, and other disorders. (The Journal of Neuroscience, 2011; 31: 501–511) Read more. 

Childhood Adversity May Trigger Elevated Stress Response in Healthy Adults

New research suggests that healthy adults who were mistreated as children may have a higher inflammatory response to new stressors. Elevated concentrations of the cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6) are in individuals who experienced early-life adversity. (Neuropsychopharmacology, published online 29 September 2010) Read more. 

Walnuts Improve Reaction to Stress

A diet rich in walnuts and walnut oil may help the body to deal better with stress, according to researchers who examined how these foods containing polyunsaturated fats influence blood pressure at rest and under stress, as reported in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. (Penn State, 4 October 2010). ScienceDaily, retrieved 19 October 2010) Read more.

New Method to Assess When Stress Endangers Health

Scientists assessed clinimetric criteria for the determination of allostatic load, which reflects the cumulative effects of stressful experiences in daily life. Allostatic overload is chronic exposure to fluctuating or heightened neural or neuroendocrine responses exceeding an individual’s coping resources. (Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 2010;79: 280–284) Read more.

Stress Can Control Our Genes

Researchers have found that stress-activating factors can turn on certain genes that were supposed to be silenced. Their findings show that the protective complexes are lost, and selected genes turned on when cells are exposed to external stress factors. (Molecular Cell,(39)6: 886–900) Read more.

Chronic Stress May Cause Long-Lasting Epigenetic Changes

Long-term exposure to a common stress hormone may leave a lasting mark on the genome and influence how genes that control mood and behavior are expressed, according to a mouse study by Johns Hopkins researchers. (Endocrinology, 151: 4332–4343) Read more.

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