cortisol

Stress during pregnancy increases risk of mood disorders for female offspring

High maternal levels of the stress hormone cortisol during pregnancy increase anxious and depressive-like behaviors in female offspring at the age of 2, reports a new study in Biological Psychiatry. The effect of elevated maternal cortisol on the negative offspring behavior appeared to result from patterns of stronger communication between brain regions important for sensory and emotion processing. The findings emphasize the importance of prenatal conditions for susceptibility of later mental health problems in offspring. Interestingly,…

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Stressed out? Try smelling your partner’s shirt

The scent of a romantic partner can help lower stress levels, new psychology research from the University of British Columbia has found. The study, published yesterday in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found women feel calmer after being exposed to their male partner’s scent. Conversely, being exposed to a stranger’s scent had the opposite effect and raised levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. “Many people wear their partner’s shirt or sleep on their partner’s…

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Trauma induces more alcohol craving than stress among veterans with PTSD and co-occurring alcohol dependence

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol dependence (AD) are two of the most common and debilitating disorders diagnosed among American military veterans. AD and PTSD often occur together, and this co-occurrence has a worse prognosis than either disorder alone. Alcohol craving is related to relapse, but the relationship between PTSD symptoms, craving, and relapse is not well understood. This study is the first to explore the effects of trauma-induced and stress-induced imagery on alcohol craving,…

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Depression, obesity common among bipolar patients with exhausted stress system

New observations show that older bipolar patients often have decreased activity in the hormone system responsible for the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol. Low levels of cortisol in bipolar patients were also associated with depression, low quality of life, obesity, dyslipidaemia and metabolic syndrome. These discoveries could provide important clues as to how treatment strategies for depression and bipolar disorder can be improved, according to a dissertation at Umeå University in Sweden. Martin Maripuu,…

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Liking on Facebook good for teens’ stress, but being liked…not so much

Facebook can have positive and negative effects on teens levels of a stress hormone, say researchers at the University of Montreal and the Institut universitaire de santé mentale de Montréal. Led by Professor Sonia Lupien, the team found that having more than 300 Facebook friends increased teens’ levels of cortisol. On the other hand, teens who act in ways that support their Facebook friends — for example, by liking what they posted or sending them…

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Stress causes infants to resort to habits

Under stress, people are inclined to resort to habits, rather than trying out new things. In the journal PNAS, psychologists from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Technische Universität Dortmund report that this is true not only for adults, but also for infants. Unfamiliar situations akin to everyday life caused an increase in the stress hormone cortisol Together with their colleagues, Dr Sabine Seehagen from Bochum and Prof Dr Norbert Zmyj from Dortmund studied 26 infants at…

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Back to school and back to sleep

Sleep matters for kids, especially when they are stressed. A new study led by researchers Jinshia Ly, Jennifer J. McGrath and Jean-Philippe Gouin from Concordia University’s Centre for Clinical Research in Health and the PERFORM Centre shows that poor sleep might explain how stress impacts health in kids. A good night’s sleep Getting a good night’s sleep might buffer the impact of stress on kids’ cortisol level, which is a hormone produced in the adrenal…

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