Navigation Links
Pleasurable behaviors reduce stress via brain pathways, research shows

CINCINNATIWhether it's food or sex, pleasurable activity provides more than just pleasure, University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers say. It actually reduces stress by inhibiting anxiety responses in the brain.

The findings were published online Nov. 8, 2010, ahead of print in PNAS, the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences.

Experiments designed by Yvonne Ulrich-Lai, PhD, research assistant professor, James Herman, PhD, director of the Laboratory of Stress Neurobiology and professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at UC, and colleagues also indicated that the reduced-stress effects continued for at least seven days, suggesting a long-term benefit.

"These findings give us a clearer understanding of the motivation for consuming 'comfort food' during times of stress," says Ulrich-Lai. "But it's important to note that, based on our findings, even small amounts of pleasurable foods can reduce the effects of stress."

The researchers provided rats twice daily access to a sugar solution for two weeks, then tested the rats' physiological and behavioral responses to stress. Compared with controls, rats with access to sugar exhibited reduced heart rate and stress hormone levels while placed in ventilated restraint tubes and were more willing to explore an unfamiliar environment and socially interact with other rats.

Rats who were fed a solution artificially sweetened with saccharin (instead of being fed sucrose) showed similar reductions in stress responses, the researchers say, as did rats who were given access to sexually responsive partners. But sucrose supplied directly to the stomach did not blunt the rats' stress response, the researchers say.

"This indicates that the pleasurable properties of tasty foods, not the caloric properties, were sufficient for stress reduction," says Ulrich-Lai.

Physiological responses to stress include activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, regulated by the brain structure known as the basolateral amygdale (BLA). Rats exposed to pleasurable activities, such as tasty foods and sex, experienced weakened HPA axis responses to stress, the researchers found.

Lesions of the BLA prevented stress reduction by sucrose, suggesting that neural activity in the BLA is necessary for the effect.

"Our research identifies key neural circuits underlying the comfort food effect," notes Ulrich-Lai. "Further research is needed, but identification of these circuits could provide potential strategies for intervening to prevent or curtail increasing rates of obesity and other metabolic disorders."


Contact: Keith Herrell
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center

Related medicine news :

1. OMG! Excessive Texting Tied to Risky Teen Behaviors
2. $12 million grant to study young adult smoking behaviors
3. Study shows behaviors and attitudes towards oral sex are changing
4. Youth define spirituality in terms of positive behaviors, connections
5. Body-image distortion predicts onset of unsafe weight-loss behaviors
6. Parkinsons Drugs Tied to Compulsive Behaviors
7. Four Unhealthy Behaviors Linked to Premature Death
8. UCSF study finds clinic-based HIV prevention is effective in reducing risk behaviors
9. Preventive behaviors limited household transmission of H1N1 influenza during initial outbreak
10. Program delivers healthy behaviors door-to-door
11. Husbands hostile, anti-social behaviors increase wives symptoms of depression, researchers find
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN FRANCISCO, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, ... ... launched half-cup sizes, has launched their Black Friday sale a week early, offering ... ThirdLove continues to transform the intimate apparel industry through both mobile fit technology ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... IL (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... are national leaders when it comes to several aspects of orthopedic care. They ... joint replacements, orthopedic surgeries and general orthopedic care. , Becker's Hospital Review ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... California (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Energy's LENR HHT Bolier Reactor System. Brillouin is the developer of renewable energy ... controlled low energy nuclear reactions (“LENR”), announced today that its WET™ and HHT™ ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... United States to support their local poison centers through donations on Tuesday, Dec. ... calls it “a day that inspires people to collaborate in improving their ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... Aided by seed ... announced an innovative study designed to yield insights into how to detect and treat ... biomarkers for pancreatic cancer from small, non-coding RNA molecules (ncRNA), genetic material that is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Figure 1, a free mobile-first network ... cases, has launched a new completely redesigned web version ... allows radiologists, who work primarily on a desktop, to ... with its radiologist user base, Figure 1 is hosting ... North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... NEW YORK , Nov. 24, 2015 iRhythm ... on advancing cardiac care, today announced that it will participate in ... Palace Hotel in New York, NY . ... to present on Tuesday December 1, 2015 at 8:50am ET. ... Inc. . --> . ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Teledyne DALSA ... X-Ray image sensing technology, will introduce its CMOS X-Ray ... Exhibition , November 29 to December 3, at McCormick Place ... dynamic detectors for diagnostic and interventional imaging will be on ... Xineos family of advanced CMOS X-Ray detectors is the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: