Navigation Links
Research Permits First-Ever Visualization of Psychological Stress in the Human Brain

Using a novel application of an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) technique, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have, for the first time, visualized the effects of everyday psychological stress in a healthy human brain.

Their work, performed at Penn's Center for Functional Neuroimaging, provides a neuro-imaging marker of psychological stress -- which will pave the way for the development of improved strategies for preventing or correcting the long-term health consequences of chronic stress. The researchers' study appears in the November 21 online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the Penn study, researchers induced stress on healthy subjects by asking them to quickly tackle challenging mental exercises while being monitored for performance. During the fMRI scans, the researchers also recorded subjects' emotional responses -- such as stress, anxiety, and frustration -- and measured the corresponding changes in stress hormone and heart rate. Many subjects described themselves as being "flustered, distracted, rushed and upset" by the stress task.

The results showed increased cerebral blood-flow during the "stress test" in the right anterior portion of the brain (prefrontal cortex) -- an area long associated with anxiety and depression. More interestingly, the increased cerebral blood-flow persisted even when the testing was complete. These results suggest a strong link between psychological stress and negative emotions. On the other hand, the prefrontal cortex is also associated with the ability to perform executive functions -- such as working memory and goal-oriented behavior -- that permit humans to adapt to environmental challenges and threats. "The message from this study is that while stress may be useful in increasing focus, chronic stress could also be detrimental to mental health," concludes Jiongjiong Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiology and principal investiga tor of the study.

"How the brain reacts under psychological stress is an untouched subject for cognitive neuroscientists, but it is certainly a critical piece of the puzzle in understanding the health effects of stress," adds Wang. "Our findings should help significantly advance our understanding of this process."

To date, most fMRI studies have indirectly measured changes in cerebral blood-flow and metabolism induced by neural activation, using a technique that is sensitive to the oxygenation levels in blood. “The fMRI technique employed in our study ?arterial spin labeling ?can measure cerebral flood-flow directly,?states John A. Detre, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and Radiology, and senior author of the study. “This technique is very similar to PET (positron emission tomography) scanning, except that it’s entirely non-invasive ?without the need for injections or radioactivity. In this elegant technique, water molecules in subjects?own blood are ‘tagged?by the magnet and used as the natural contrast agent to measure cerebral blood-flow.?Researchers at Penn’s Center for Functional Neuroimaging have been at the forefront of the development of this technique, and its applications to imaging brain-function during cognitive and emotional processes.

The study was sponsored by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Air Force. In addition to Drs. Wang and Detre, the team of investigators included Penn researchers Hengyi Rao, Gabriel S. Wetmore, Patricia M. Furlan, Marc Korczykowski, and David F. Dinges.


'"/>

Source:Penn Medicine


Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover way to make cells in the eye sensitive to light
2. Quantum Dots Research Leads to New Knowledge about Protein Binding in Plants
3. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
4. Researchers Uncover Key Step In Manufacture of Memory Protein
5. Research advances quest for HIV-1 vaccine
6. Research on Worms Yields Clues on Aging
7. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
8. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
9. Weill Cornell Research Reveals Secrets Of Trafficking Within Cells
10. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
11. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:1/25/2016)... , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, the ... pharma and publication industries, will provide the data management ... Centre (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis measures ... whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as health ...
(Date:1/21/2016)... 21, 2016 --> ... market research report "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market by Technology ... (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition and Others), Services, Application ... to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global Emotion ... USD 22.65 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... 20, 2016  Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA ... today announced sampling of S1423, its newest ClearPad ... small screen applications including smartwatches, fitness trackers, and ... and rectangular shapes, as well as thick and ... moisture on screen, while wearing gloves, and supports ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... SonaCare Medical, LLC reports the ... Sonalink™ remote monitoring. The inaugural launch of this new technology occurred over the ... Samuel Peretsman to a HIFU technical expert at SonaCare Medical headquarters. , ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... now available on Microsoft Azure. On Azure, Arvados provides capabilities for managing and ... clear demand for Microsoft Azure from major institutions collecting and analyzing genomic data,” ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... ... Cenna Bioscience Inc., an emerging biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and ... been selected to present at the Cavendish Global Health Impact Forum taking place February ... of the Forum is to help family offices and foundations develop and implement their ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... ... With a presidential election in November and the future of U.S. healthcare in ... top healthcare leaders for a night and day of debates and discussions about what ... the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, will be held February 18 – 19, 2016 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: