Stress hormone linked to mood and hippocampus volume

July 24, 2017
The hippocampus is a region of the brain largely responsible for memory formation. Credit: Salk Institute

Individual differences in the pattern of release of the hormone cortisol in response to a stressful experience reveal how stressed a person actually feels, suggests a study of healthy women published in The Journal of Neuroscience. This approach could help to better identify and treat individuals more susceptible to the negative feelings associated with the physiological stress response.

Most stress research in humans involves inducing a short period of stress and classifying participants as either responders or non-responders based on the level of the in their saliva. These studies do not typically find differences between the two groups' subjective experience of stress.

Roee Admon, Diego Pizzagalli and colleagues modified existing laboratory procedures to induce stress for more than one hour in 79 women and identified three different types of cortisol response. Participants that released either very high or very low amounts of cortisol over time reported feeling more stressed than those with a pattern of moderate hormonal release. The authors also found smaller volume of the hippocampus—a structure with a large number of cortisol receptors that regulates stress response—in these high and low responders compared to the moderate responders.

Explore further: Pet dogs help kids feel less stressed, study finds

More information: Journal of Neuroscience (2017). dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1175-17.2017

Related Stories

Pet dogs help kids feel less stressed, study finds

May 10, 2017
Pet dogs provide valuable social support for kids when they're stressed, according to a study by researchers from the University of Florida, who were among the first to document stress-buffering effects of pets for children.

Retirement associated with lower stress, but only if you were in a top job

May 5, 2017
A new paper published in the Journal of Gerontology suggests that the period around retirement may widen socio-economic inequalities in stress and health.

Married people have lower levels of stress hormone

February 13, 2017
Studies have suggested that married people are healthier than those who are single, divorced or widowed. A new Carnegie Mellon University study provides the first biological evidence to explain how marriage impacts health.

PTSD risk can be predicted by hormone levels prior to deployment, study says

March 7, 2017
Up to 20 percent of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan developed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder from trauma experienced during wartime, but new neuroscience research from The University of Texas ...

Increased reaction to stress linked to gastrointestinal issues in children with autism

January 4, 2017
One in 45 American children lives with autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these children also have significant gastrointestinal issues, but the cause of these symptoms ...

Saliva test for stress hormone levels may identify healthy older people with thinking problems

August 19, 2015
Testing the saliva of healthy older people for the level of the stress hormone cortisol may help identify individuals who should be screened for problems with thinking skills, according to a study published in the August ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover spinal cord neurons that inhibit distracting input to focus on task at hand

December 8, 2017
We think of our brain as masterminding all of our actions, but a surprising amount of information related to movement gets processed by our spinal cord.

The mysterious case of the boy missing most of his visual cortex who can see anyway

December 8, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with Monash University recently gave a presentation at a neuroscience conference in Australia outlining their study of the brain of a seven-year-old boy who was missing most of his ...

How a seahorse-shaped brain structure may help us recognize others

December 8, 2017
How do we recognize others? How do we know friend from foe, threat from reward? How does the brain compute the multitude of cues telling us that Susan is not Erica even though they look alike? The complexity of social interactions—human ...

Brain networks that help babies learn to walk ID'd

December 8, 2017
Scientists have identified brain networks involved in a baby's learning to walk—a discovery that eventually may help predict whether infants are at risk for autism.

Why we can't always stop what we've started

December 7, 2017
When we try to stop a body movement at the last second, perhaps to keep ourselves from stepping on what we just realized was ice, we can't always do it—and Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists have figured out why.

Mutations in neurons accumulate as we age: The process may explain normal cognitive decline and neurodegeneration

December 7, 2017
Scientists have wondered whether somatic (non-inherited) mutations play a role in aging and brain degeneration, but until recently there was no good technology to test this idea. A study published online today in Science, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.