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Researchers Find Neural Basis for Psychological Resilience

The Los Angeles Times reports on a study in Science that has discovered a neuronal mechanism that may underlay resilience in the face of stress. Research observed rats who were under stress due to chronic isolation or attack by their litter-mates and found that the mice who were least likely to behave in socially defeated ways showed hyperactivity in “dopaminergic cells in the brain’s ventral tegmentum, a key node in the brain’s reward circuitry.” Furthermore, “using antidepressant medication, viruses and lights that turn circuits on and off,” researchers activated “the chemical processes that induced the same level of hyperactivity seen in the ventral tegmenta of resilient mice…and made depression-prone mice more hardy and happy in the face of stress.” The results suggest that in the psychologically resilient, the brain produces its own chemical countermeasures.

Read it in the Los Angeles Times.

Read the study in Science.