Stress can have numerous harmful effects on the mind and body, both immediately and over long periods of time. Recent findings on the effect of stress on the body were presented at Neuroscience 2017, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
‘Controlling signaling in brain cells called astrocytes may be an effective way to prevent heightened fear and anxiety responses associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.’
Stress is a state of physical, mental, or emotional strain resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Although some level of stress is inevitable -- and even beneficial -- chronic or excessive stress can wreak havoc on physical and mental health.
The newly identified physical and mental consequences of stress are:
- Stress experienced by fathers may alter gene expression in their sperm, potentially leading to less resilient offspring.
- Childhood trauma can result in altered patterns of gene expression and elevated stress hormones, biomarkers that may help identify and treat young trauma victims.
- Controlling signaling in brain cells called astrocytes may be an effective way to prevent heightened fear and anxiety responses associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Newborn neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region that processes memory, can decrease effects of stress and symptoms of mental illness in mice.
- Microbes found in soil can help guard against stress, vulnerability, and illness in mice after inadequate sleep.
"Taken as a whole, these studies illuminate our understanding of the many negative effects of stress on the brain, whether early in life or as adults, and spur optimism about our ability to address these impacts," said press conference moderator Bruce McEwen, PhD, of Rockefeller University, an expert in the body's response to stress.