Neuroscience Around the Web – Issue 27

Here are six interesting new neuroscience studies I came across recently:

The Surprising Connection Between Gender Equality and Life Expectancy

A new study shows that when gender equality improves, both women and men can live longer. The study found that when women are given the opportunity to participate in politics, the economy, and education, society as a whole benefits, leading to longer life expectancies for both genders.

How Parents Can Shape Their Children's Stress Response for Life

A new study suggests that the way mothers interact with their babies can affect their stress response later in life. The study found that neutral or awkward behavior of mothers with their babies at 12 months correlated with an epigenetic change called methylation on a gene called NR3C1 when the children were 7 years old. This gene has been associated with regulating the body’s response to stress.

Trust and Depression are Linked in the Brain

A new study suggests that changes in the brain that affect the ability to trust others may be linked to depression. The study found that people with smaller gray matter volume in the parts of the brain related to social cognition and trust had a higher risk of developing depression, even if they did not have symptoms yet.

A Revolutionary Way to Diagnose and Treat Anxiety with a Blood Test

Researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine have developed a blood test that can help determine a person’s risk of developing anxiety and monitor the severity of their symptoms. The test examines biomarkers in the blood that can match a patient with the most effective therapies, and could potentially be used during regular wellness visits to prevent future distress.

Common Antidepressants May Blunt Your Positive Emotions Too 

A recent study has found that commonly used antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can cause "emotional blunting" in some healthy volunteers. Emotional blunting refers to a reduction in responsiveness to positive and negative feedback, and it may explain why some people taking SSRIs report feeling emotionally dull or no longer finding things pleasurable.

Does money buy you happiness?

"For the least happy group, happiness rises with income until $100,000, then shows no further increase as income grows. For those in the middle range of emotional well-being, happiness increases linearly with income, and for the happiest group, the association actually accelerates above $100,000."

Related articles:

Challenging Assumptions: New Research on the Role of Oxytocin in Trust
How Spending Time in Nature Reduces Amygdala Activity
Why It’s Important to Enjoy Life’s Little Pleasures
Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi on How to Create a Happy Life
To Maintain Cognitive Health Learn to Build Resilience
Stress Is Not the Demon

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