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:12/22/2016)... -- SuperCom (NASDAQ:   SPCB ... Public Safety, HealthCare, and Finance sectors announced today that Leaders in ... implement and deploy a community-based supportive services program to reduce recidivism ... further expanding its presence in the state. ... This new program, which is expected to ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced the ... Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... The biometric vehicle access system ... CAGR of 14.06% from 2016 to 2021. The market is estimated ... reach 854.8 Million by 2021. The growth of the biometric vehicle ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Advancements in biometrics will radically ... wellbeing (HWW), and security of vehicles by ... vehicles begin to feature fingerprint recognition, iris ... monitoring, brain wave monitoring, stress detection, fatigue ... detection. These will be driven by built-in, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/13/2017)... DUBLIN , Jan 13, 2017 Research and ... report to their offering. ... The global biopolymers market to grow at a CAGR of 16.83% ... scenario and the growth prospects of the global biopolymers market for 2017-2021. ... the sale of sales of biopolymer products. The report also includes a ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 13, 2017 , ... ... with several companies to offer its customers three new solutions for measurements where ... come in handy if a customer has an oddly-shaped sample that would not ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... ... with short response times capable of performing routine electrochemical biosensing has increased ... electrodes provide fast, sensitive detection and quantification of various analytes in complex ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... DC , January 12, 2017 ... up the world,s biggest facility for producing mycorrhizae. The ... the nutrient tapping potential of mycorrhizae and developed a ... ... (Logo: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/456932/PRNE_TERI_Logo.jpg) The TERI facility ...
Breaking Biology Technology: