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Early Stress May Sensitize Girls’ Brains for Later Anxiety

(11/13/2012)

Early Stress May Sensitize Girls’ Brains for Later Anxiety
ScienceDaily

November 11, 2012

High levels of family stress in infancy are linked to differences in everyday brain function and anxiety in teenage girls, according to new results of a long-running population study by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists.  The study highlights evidence for a developmental pathway through which early life stress may drive these changes. Here, babies who lived in homes with stressed mothers were more likely to grow into preschoolers with higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. In addition, these girls with higher cortisol also showed less communication between brain areas associated with emotion regulation 14 years later. Last, both high cortisol and differences in brain activity predicted higher levels of adolescent anxiety at age 18.

View the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121111152930.htm


Keywords: early stress, sensitize, girls, brains, anxiety



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