IRP Researchers Discover Unexpected Stress-Blunting Effects of Some Neurons
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
The past few years have not been easy for anyone. With world events like the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine causing everyone to worry, it’s no surprise that during this April’s annual Stress Awareness Month observance, so many people experienced high levels of stress and anxiety. While stress management techniques and talk therapy may help some people, nearly 10 million Americans need prescription anti-anxiety drugs to quell those feelings.
One important target for anti-anxiety medications is norepinephrine, a chemical released by certain neurons in the brain. Norepinephrine — also known as noradrenaline — has traditionally been considered to be a ‘stress chemical’ that triggers anxiety. However, drugs designed to target the neurons that produce it don’t always work as predicted. That’s why IRP senior investigator Patricia Jensen, Ph.D., and her colleagues in the Developmental Neurobiology Group at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) are delving deep into the mouse brain to better understand these neurons and what exactly they do.
Chronic Stress Diminishes Energy Production in the Brain
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
When power lines come down and the electricity shuts off, it’s understandably a worrying situation. As it turns out, people may become anxious not just when their homes are cut off from energy, but also when their brains find themselves short on power, according to recent IRP research done in mice.
While the misfortune of a blackout is temporary, many people experience chronic stress that bothers them continuously. In some individuals, repetitive stressors can contribute to the development of debilitating anxiety that interferes with everyday life. Intriguingly, past research has found evidence that problems with the biological batteries that power our cells, called mitochondria, might be involved in anxiety disorders, as well as some other psychiatric illnesses.
IRP Study Examines Less Time-Intensive Method for Improving Mental Health
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
While working in healthcare can be extremely rewarding, it is also undoubtedly stressful. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has had severe repercussions on the mental health of medical professionals, as doctors and nurses struggle to care for unprecedented numbers of sick patients. Fortunately, new NIH research suggests that a relatively brief workplace mindfulness program can reduce stress and anxiety in healthcare workers.
Mouse Study Illuminates Potential Mechanism Behind Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Millions of Americans suffered from depression and anxiety even before COVID-19 began upending their lives. To make matters worse, the stresses of living through a pandemic might not only worsen mental health but could also wreak havoc on the brain itself. New IRP research has found that psychological stress damages blood vessels in the brains of mice and dramatically alters the behavior of genes in certain blood vessel cells.
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Upon entering the sunny foyer of the NIH’s Natcher Conference Center last Thursday, I was immediately struck by a burst of loud, excited chatter. As it always is on NIH’s annual Summer Poster Day, the building was filled with hundreds of high school and college students and the scientists, families, and friends who had turned out to see what these young men and women had spent the summer doing.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Most people experience anxiety at some point in their lives, whether it’s pre-speech jitters or sweaty palms when their plane takes off. While mild feelings of nervousness are completely normal and can even be beneficial, anxiety can also have negative repercussions if it causes somebody to completely avoid situations like social encounters or taking a flight to visit distant family.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
What do Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, and Apollo astronauts have in common? They all used slide rules! We're highlighting some of the slide rules in our collection used by scientists at the NIH in their quest to improve human health.