Skip Navigation

BrainFacts.org

A PUBLIC INFORMATION
INITIATIVE OF:

  • Kavli
  • Gatsby
  • SfN

Stress: Immediate Response

A stressful situation activates three major communication systems in the brain, all of which regulate bodily functions.

More »

Stress: The Role of Glucocorticoids

In response to signals from a brain region called the hypothalamus, the adrenal glands secrete glucocorticoids, hormones that produce an array of effects in response to stress.

More »

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

After one witnesses something truly terrible, they can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder – an affliction that can make it impossible to continue one's life as normal.

More »

Introduction

From looming deadlines at work to traffic on the commute home, stress is a natural part of modern life. In response to stressful or fearful experiences, the brain releases chemicals that help the body respond quickly. While research shows short bouts of stress can be of some benefit, constant stress can prove dangerous, increasing the risk of mental illness and other diseases. Understanding what makes people more or less resilient to stress and fear may one day lead to new treatments for anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ongoing studies are helping researchers understand how genetic makeup, the environment, and exposure to stress early in life can influence vulnerability to stress and anxiety. Recent studies highlight the molecular, cellular, and structural differences in the brains of people with anxiety disorders. Such insight could help doctors make quicker diagnoses and might one day lead to new avenues for drug discovery.

Discoveries

Brain, Behavior, and Environmental Change

Source: Society for Neuroscience
According to environmental scientists, the climate is changing due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Research shows environmental change can affect the brain and behavior.

Anxiety Disorders: OCD and Phobia

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Considered the most common mental illnesses, anxiety disorders affect an estimated 18 percent of the adult population in a given year, or 40 million Americans.

Stress: The Role of Glucocorticoids

Source: Society for Neuroscience
In response to signals from a brain region called the hypothalamus, the adrenal glands secrete glucocorticoids, hormones that produce an array of effects in response to stress.

Stress and Anxiety in the News

To Quash Depression, Some Brain Cells Must Push Through the Stress

Source: Los Angeles Times
Date: 17 April 2014
what does psychological resilience look like inside our brains, at the cellular level?

Stress Alters Children's Genomes

Source: Nature
Date: 7 April 2014
Poverty and unstable family environments shorten chromosome-protecting telomeres in nine-year-olds.

Hyperbaric Chamber Used to Treat Some Vets with Brain Injuries

Source: CBS
Date: 31 March 2014
Some Colorado veterans with mild traumatic brain injuries are turning to an alternative treatment that’s not sanctioned by the Food And Drug Administration.