New Insight into the Stress-Health Connection and Other News

female sick patient in doctor's officeScientists have long known that negative emotions can negatively affect cardiovascular health, leading to serious health conditions such as strokes and heart attacks. The mechanisms behind such health effects, however, are unclear. New research may provide some insight, though. The study, which was published in Biological Psychiatry, found that long-term stress and negative emotions lead to a build-up of chemicals called pro-inflammatory cytokines. These chemicals then increase the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition that causes plaque to build up in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular health problems.

The researchers noticed that brain areas that regulate inflammation also played a role in emotion. They theorized that negative emotions would then lead to more inflammation in the body, and that over time these higher levels of inflammation could undermine cardiovascular health. They asked 157 research subjects to look at upsetting images while trying to control their emotions.

Using brain imaging techniques, they found that participants who showed more brain activity when they tried to regulate their negative emotions also had more pro-inflammatory cytokines. Those who have to expend more energy regulating negative emotions may have more negative emotions and therefore a higher risk of heart health problems.

Early Depression, Anger, May Taint Love Life Even 20 Years Later, Study Shows

Depression and anger are hard enough to live with, but new research points to long-lasting effects. A study that examined 341 people over 25 years found that those who experienced depression and anger in early adulthood reported more problems in their romantic relationships, even 25 years later, than those who had not experienced depression or anger.

Seeing ‘Jesus In Toast’ Phenomenon Perfectly Normal, Professor Says

We’ve all heard the strange reports of people who see religious figures in food and other everyday objects, but a phenomenon called face pareidolia might help to explain these apparitions. A new study emphasizes that the human brain is wired to see faces, so disparate images that superficially resemble facial features can become linked, and for some people, these images might resemble religious figures.

Gender May Contribute to Recovery Time After Concussion

Every year 17 million people suffer from a mild traumatic brain injury, and a new study shows that men typically take longer to recover than women. The study used a type of imaging called diffusion tensor imaging, which allowed researchers to see microscopic features in the brain that other imaging technologies might miss. The researchers used DTI on 22 female and 47 male concussion sufferers. With better images, researchers saw longer-lasting concussion effects in men than women.

May Madness, ‘Hot Girl’ Contest Re-Surfaces at Mount Si High School; Student Group Pushes Back in Protest

At Mount Si High School in Washington, it’s a yearly tradition for boys to pick girls for a hot girl competition—even if the girls don’t want to participate. Boys vote on girls online, and some girls have experienced cyberbullying as a result of the involuntary competition. A new student group dedicated to gender equality is fighting back with t-shirts and protests. The group has 37 members, half of whom are boys.

Working with Horses Reduces Stress Hormones in Young People

Many children love horses, but it turns out that spending time with horses could be more than just a hobby. A new Washington State University study examined 130 fifth through eighth graders who spent 90 minutes a week with horses. The students who participated in the horse program had lower cortisol levels than those who didn’t. Cortisol is a hormone commonly linked with stress.

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  • Marian

    Marian

    May 9th, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    The proof is right there staring us all in the face and most of the time we choose to ignore it. Stress and the way that we handle it or don’t is killing us people.

  • Dawn

    Dawn

    May 10th, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    What is it about living with depression at any point in your life that always makes the future even more difficult? You would think that is you have managed to deal with it and work through many of your issues then you wouldn’t have to be so concerned with it always coming back, but to be haunted by this even 20 years down the road is kind of, well, depresisng.

  • adam

    adam

    May 12th, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Have they come up with any conclusions about why concussions seem to effect men more than women, and why the effects can be greater in these men?

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