Connection between stress, depression, and reduced brain matter potentially explained by Yale scientists

Many of BIPR’s services for younger children, including Zero-to-Five and the therapeutic  preschool, aim to encourage healthy intellectual and emotional development. BIPR’s therapists for adolescents and adults seek to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. New research from Yale University shows a connection between chronic stress and depression and reduced brain volume in synaptic connections. This reduction in brain volume has the potential to diminish cognitive and social skills.

The researchers, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, discovered that a certain transcription factor prevents the expression of genes that create synapses, thus reducing matter in the prefrontal cortex. Donations from a brain bank were used to compare tissue of depressed and non-depressed individuals, and the results showed that depressed subjects had reduced expression of these genes necessary for building synapses. Additionally, results showed that one transcription factor in particular, GATA1, regulated these genes. Studying GATA1 could help identify those genetically at risk for depression or stress. Additionally, knowing that reduced synaptic connection links to stress and depression could pave the way for research on antidepressant medications.

Further information on this study can be found at the following article:

How Stress and Depression Can Shrink the Brain

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