Life is Grace

Seeking the Blessings in the Chaos

TIME

Some people thrive under stress and tight deadlines, and others become crippled with defeat. A team of scientists looked to mice to find biological answers for these different responses and found the reason my lie deep in the brain.

The area of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is known to be involved in the regulation of emotions and behavior, and can become highly activated in people who are depressed. Researchers have long wanted to know whether hyperactivity in mPFC causes depression or if the activity in that part of the brain is a result of something else (and thus not the cause of depression). To test this, they looked at mice and were able to pinpoint the specific neurons involved with stress. Like humans, when mice are depressed, the mPFC neurons become activated. The very same neurons were weak among mice who appeared not to be bothered…

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