Why some people feel more helpless during stressful situations?

New York, March 31 (IANS) Ever wondered why some remain resilient to the daily stress while others succumb to despair? Scientists have found that the reason behind this difference is in our brain patterns.

The researchers also identified a list of brain areas that might play a critical role in stress-induced depression.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Neural Circuits, revealed that mice showing helpless behaviour had vastly different brain activity from those displaying resilient behaviour.

Mapping the brain activity in mice when placed under stress, the research showed that locus coeruleus — part of the brain involved with physiological responses to stress and panic — lit up more in helpless mice suggesting that it has a significant role to play in stress-induced depression.

“In addition, the helpless mice showed a strong trend of having higher similarity in whole-brain activity profile among individuals, suggesting that helplessness is represented by a more stereotypic brain-wide activation pattern,” explained the authors from the Pennsylvania State University in US.

Moreover, those mice that showed helpless behaviour had significantly lower levels of overall brain activity, especially areas vital for processing emotion and motivation.

“Our findings provide novel insights into brain circuits underlying a model of depression,” explained the researchers, adding that the study opens up possibilities for identifying new targets for the treatment of depression.

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