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Can stress be beneficial to the brain?

By | October 21st, 2020

Sometimes, in a different context or appraisal situation, stress is beneficial by helping the brain deal with the stressors that come along. We’ve had research show how stress can be beneficial by changing the structure of the hippocampus and therefore its function. We’ve had work that has also shown how this can be detrimental to memory function, to then cause anxiety and depression-like symptoms. Right now, we’re focused on individual variation. When you expose genetically identical rats to stress, some develop anxiety symptoms and some don’t, so we’re looking at the mechanisms of the brain that can enable that. For plasticity, we’re looking specifically at myelin (the sheathing of neurons that look very different in ones that develop anxiety and ones that don’t).

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