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Continual Fear Linked to Genetic Alterations in the Brain

by Medindia Content Team on February 14, 2006 at 1:58 PM
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Continual Fear Linked to Genetic Alterations in the Brain

A bully seems to have an unabating negative influence on the victim. Scientists have observed this unnerving effect of big mice on small ones, and the findings have revealed that stress can cause certain genetic changes in the brain. This finding can go a long way in supporting the research into depression and mental illness.

This finding initiated by the Texas Researchers, which has been published in the journal Science, has also linked a part of the brain responsible for addiction with anxiety and social awkwardness. This substance, named as BDNF, retains the controls that predict whether fear can actually turn its target into a potential recluse.

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The Texas researchers exposed small brown mice to fear, of greater intensity than the normal course. The Mice was made to face an aggressive opponent in a cage, a large white mouse, and was invariably pushed into a corner.

Researchers later separated the cage with a perforated glass for 24 hours, keeping the little mouse away from any sort of physical danger, though the fearful mouse was able to see and smell the opponent. This experiment was repeated for 10 days, with each small mouse meeting a new opponent.

It was found that the mice, when exposed to fear, turned out to be cowardly and daunted. A month later, they still backed off fearfully, even from ostensibly friendly mice.

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