Scientists continue to search for the underlying genes and neurobiology that dictate our reactions to stress. Now, says a report in [s]The Washington Post[/s], a study using mice has found a switch-like mechanism between resilience and defeat in an area of the brain that plays an important role in regulating emotions and has been linked with mood and anxiety disorders. After artificially enhancing the activity of neurons in that part of the brain – the medial prefrontal cortex – mice that previously fought to avoid electric shocks started to act helpless. Study author Bo Li of the [b]Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory[/b] in New York hopes to investigate whether the switch goes the opposite way – whether inhibition of activity of these neurons makes helpless mice strong – and suspects that it may. If so, the results would be consistent with deep brain stimulation, a treatment for depression that uses electrical impulses to inhibit neuronal activity in a targeted brain area.
[link url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-are-some-depressed-others-resilient-scientists-home-in-one-part-of-the-brain/2014/06/05/db638498-e83f-11e3-a86b-362fd5443d19_story.html?utm_source=nextdraft&utm_medium=email]Full report in The Washington Post[/link]
[link url=http://www.jneurosci.org/content/34/22/7485.short]Journal of Neuroscience abstract[/link]