The physical impact of stress

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Social stress takes a major physical toll on people’s daily lives, but the brain functions underlying it are poorly understood.

Japanese researchers from Nagoya University, have discovered in rats a neural pathway which generates a physical response to the stress caused by social interactions.

The scientists found that interrupting the pathway helped prevent such a physical response in rats, without disrupting other bodily functions.

Social stress can lead to symptoms like fever, release of behaviour-affecting hormones and increased blood flow.

The research has highlighted that the neural pathway can be interrupted, therefore alleviating the physical impacts of stress.

Why is this research important?

Common stress-associated symptoms like fast heartbeat and rapid body temperature changes are thought to be coping mechanisms to boost physical performance during fight or flight scenarios.

These physical changes may have helped humans previously, however in today’s age they can worsen the quality of life.

Excessive stress can cause symptoms like fever or hypothermia that is resistant to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.

Therefore, this particular kind of research can make leads into human stress and how to treat it.