Just like everyone else, people with panic disorder have real stress in their lives. They get laid off and they fight with their spouses. How such stresses affect their panic symptoms has not been well understood, but a new study by researchers at Brown University presents the counterintuitive finding that certain kinds of stressful life events cause panic symptoms to increase gradually over succeeding months rather than to spike immediately.
A person scanning baggage or X-rays stands a better chance of seeing everything they are searching for if they are not feeling anxious, according to a new laboratory experiment. Duke psychologists put a dozen students through a test in which they searched for particular shapes on a computer display, simulating the sort of visual searching performed by airport security teams and radiologists.
This recent series of posts has used the example of Stephen Colbert’s satirical “March to Keep Fear Alive” as an illustration of a larger point: humans evolved to be fearful – a major feature of the brain’s negativity bias that helped our ancestors pass on their genes. Consequently, as much research has shown, we’re usually much more affected by negative – by which I mean painful – experiences than by positive ones.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had dueling rallies in DC in October, 2010. Stewart’s was “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Colbert’s was “March to Keep Fear Alive!” Obviously, Colbert is a great satirist who was poking fun, since we sure don’t need a rally to keep fear alive. Alarming messages are all around us, like the news about global warming or the “Threat Level Orange” announcements every few minutes in the airport.
For the first time, researchers at McMaster University have conclusive evidence that bacteria residing in the gut influence brain chemistry and behavior. The findings are important because several common types of gastrointestinal disease, including irritable bowel syndrome, are frequently associated with anxiety or depression. In addition, there has been speculation that some psychiatric disorders, such as late onset autism, may be associated with an abnormal bacterial content in the gut. The research appears in the online edition of the journalGastroenterology.
Children whose mother or father is affected by bipolar disorder may need to keep their stress levels in check. A new international study, led by Concordia University, suggests the stress hormone cortisol is a key player in the mood disorder. The findings published in Psychological Medicine, are the first to show that cortisol is elevated more readily in these children in response to the stressors of normal everyday life.
A team of researchers is beginning to see exactly what the response to threats looks like in the brain at the cellular and molecular levels. This new information, including the discovery that a model of social stress can increase inflammation among brain cells, should provide new insight into how the stress response affects inflammatory and behavioral responses. It may also provide new targets for drugs treatments in the continuing struggle to curtail depression and anxiety.
A team of neuroscientists at the University of Leicester, UK, in collaboration with researchers from Poland and Japan, has announced a breakthrough in the understanding of the ‘brain chemistry’ that triggers our response to highly stressful and traumatic events. The discovery of a critical and previously unknown pathway in the brain that is linked to our response to stress is announced today in the journal Nature.