One of the most frequent objections received by anxious people is that “it’s all in your head,” a criticism that has nothing to do with the truth. Demonstrate why a new study at the University of Wisconsin states that the brain mechanism that triggers anxiety might be hereditary.
Anxiety and depression were at least partially determined by biological factors had already been shown by previous studies. In particular, these were related to chemical imbalances in the brain. Analysis by the National Institute of Mental Health and the World Health Organization has also led to the discovery that mental illness such as schizophrenia and clinical depression share genetic risk factors and could be transmitted to families. The new study instead investigates how anxiety develops in a young brain and if there are similar patterns in the brains of close relatives.
Scientists studied a sample of 592 Rhesus macaques looking for anxiety signals in the brain in tension situations. These are conditions that can stimulate a moderate anxiety; similar to those that one might experience a human being, for example invading the space closest to the subject without visual contact. The researchers monitored the level of animal stress hormones in these situations, and then submitted to a tomography to analyze metabolic activity in brain areas responsible for mood states. In addition, scientists have studied the anatomy of each maca’s brain by comparing it with closely related monkey brains.
Tomographs revealed that animals who had reacted to stressful immobilization and becoming less expansive had also demonstrated hyperactivity in brain areas associated with anxiety. Researchers also found that this type of attitude is hereditary: according to the study, parents could potentially inherit about 30% of premature anxiety. Other elements that favor anxiety are the personal experience and the environment surrounding the individual.
The study was conducted on young monkeys, which tend to behave very much as those practiced by humans when it comes to “anxious temperament”, that is, the reaction to a stressful environment. It is important to note that having a genetic predisposition to anxiety does not mean that an illness linked to anxiety will manifest in the individual, rather it may be interesting to consider it in relation to how you behave in situations that cause tension. Experts say that there are many factors that affect a person’s mental health.
The new discoveries emerging from this analysis are encouraging in overcoming the stigma associated with psychic illnesses. One in four has experience of a health problem linked to the mental sphere in their lifetime, but 25% of those who live such a disease states that the people around it do not care about the discomfort that they live and do not try to understand.
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