Scientists make breakthrough in understanding stress
A team of neuroscientists has made a breakthrough in understanding how the brain responds to traumatic events.
The discovery could lead to new treatments for stress-related psychiatric disorders.
Dr Robert Pawlak, from the University of Leicester, said: "It was known certain individuals are more susceptible to detrimental effects of stress.
"However, the reasons were not clear."
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Researchers, led by Dr Pawlak, found that the emotional centre of the brain – the amygdala – reacts to stress by increasing production of the protein neuropsin.
This triggers a series of chemical reactions including activating a gene that determines the stress response.
Blocking those proteins reduced stress levels.
Dr Pawlak said: "We are tremendously excited about these findings. Our discovery opens new possibilities for the prevention and treatment of stress-related psychiatric disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder."