JAN 31, 2017 7:47 AM PST

Brain Stress Connected to Heart Disease Development

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Is your brain stressed? A new study shows that an amygdala that becomes overactive due to chronic stress can cause elevated levels of bone marrow activity, which ultimately results in arterial inflammation. Over time, arterial inflammation leads to atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries caused by buildups of plaque that block blood flow. Atherosclerosis can cause heart attack, stroke, and many other heart problems that stem from a lack of blood flow to the heart and brain.

Researchers used PET CT scans to observe the amygdala, the brain structure responsible for emotional behavior and motivation. Atherosclerosis development can be due to a combination of many other factors like lifestyle habits and genetics. However, to reduce the effect of stress on the brain on atherosclerosis development, experts recommend mediation, psychotherapy, and "rich social connections" to bring the amygdala down to a normal stress level.

Sources: Neuroscience Online, Wochit
About the Author
I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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