01.30.12

New light shed on how our brains adapt to stress (or Dark Souls).

Ever wonder how you harness all that stress behind the controller? There might be an answer in the near future.

Scientists have uncovered a new mechanism that enables greater study into the little-known world of stress and the brain. Using “mouse and zebrafish model systems,” researchers are now about to track the brain’s production of the chemical CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), which is discharged when stress-inducing stimuli appear. To adapt to continuous stress, neurons yield more CRH as soon as they run out. The chemical is critical to the classic “fight or flight” response, which may just be the reason why we can mentally handle even the most taxing final bosses, or ya know, traumatic real life encounters. 

The studies are significant not only in tracking irregular presence of CRH in the brain and how that correlates with personality disorders, but also in understanding basic human reaction to strain, anxiety, and difficulty.

- Lyndsey Edelman

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