Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Hormone levels contribute to stress resilience

Performance of military combat divers under stress is affected by their hormone levels

It is important to understand what biological mechanisms contribute to an individual's capacity to be resilient under conditions of extreme stress, such as those regularly experienced by soldiers, police, and firefighters.

Dr. Charles A. Morgan III and his colleagues from Yale University and the VA National Center for PTSD have worked closely with collaborators at the Special Forces Underwater Warfare Operations Center to study special operations soldiers enrolled in the military Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC).

Dehydroepiandrosterone, or "DHEA" as it is commonly known, is a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal gland in response to stress. Although medical scientists have known for over a decade that DHEA provides beneficial, anti-stress effects in animals, they did not know until now whether this was also true for humans.

The scientists completed psychological and hormone assessments on a group of soldiers the day before they began the month-long CDQC, and immediately after their final pass/fail exam – a highly stressful, nocturnal, underwater navigation exercise.

They found that soldiers with more DHEA performed better during the final underwater navigation exam than those with less DHEA. These findings are being published by Elsevier in the August 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry.

Underwater navigation is a task that relies on an area of the brain called the hippocampus that is very sensitive to the negative effects of stress. "Animal studies have shown that DHEA buffers against stress, in part, by modulating receptors in this region of the brain," explained Dr. Morgan. "These findings are important in understanding why and how soldiers may differ in their ability to tolerate stress and also raise the possibility that, in the future, compounds like DHEA might be used to protect military personnel from the negative impact of operational stress."

Clearly, additional research is still needed but these findings are a step forward in the quest to help prevent or better treat the symptoms of stress-related disorders that these high-risk individuals experience.

The article is "Relationships Among Plasma Dehydroepiandrosterone and Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate, Cortisol, Symptoms of Dissociation, and Objective Performance in Humans Exposed to Underwater Navigation Stress" by Charles A. Morgan III, Ann Rasmusson, Robert H. Pietrzak, Vladimir Coric, and Steven M. Southwick. Authors Morgan, Pietrzak, Coric, and Southwick are affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. Morgan, Pietrzak, and Southwick are also with the National Center for PTSD, VA CT Healthcare System, West Haven, Connecticut. Rasmusson is from the Department of Psychiatry, Boston University, and the National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System, in Boston, Massachusetts. The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 66, Issue 4 (August 15, 2009), published by Elsevier.

The authors' disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available in the article.

Full text of the article mentioned above is available upon request. Contact Jayne M. Dawkins at to obtain a copy or to schedule an interview.

About Biological Psychiatry

This international rapid-publication journal is the official journal of the Society of Biological Psychiatry. It covers a broad range of topics in psychiatric neuroscience and therapeutics. Both basic and clinical contributions are encouraged from all disciplines and research areas relevant to the pathophysiology and treatment of major neuropsychiatric disorders. Full-length and Brief Reports of novel results, Commentaries, Case Studies of unusual significance, and Correspondence and Comments judged to be of high impact to the field are published, particularly those addressing genetic and environmental risk factors, neural circuitry and neurochemistry, and important new therapeutic approaches. Concise Reviews and Editorials that focus on topics of current research and interest are also published rapidly.

Biological Psychiatry ( is ranked 4th out of the 101 Psychiatry titles and 14th out of 219 Neurosciences titles on the 2008 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Thomson Scientific.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. Working in partnership with the global science and health communities, Elsevier's 7,000 employees in over 70 offices worldwide publish more than 2,000 journals and 1,900 new books per year, in addition to offering a suite of innovative electronic products, such as ScienceDirect (, MD Consult (, Scopus (, bibliographic databases, and online reference works.

Elsevier (http://www/ is a global business headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and has offices worldwide. Elsevier is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc (, a world-leading publisher and information provider. Operating in the science and medical, legal, education and business-to-business sectors, Reed Elsevier provides high-quality and flexible information solutions to users, with increasing emphasis on the Internet as a means of delivery. Reed Elsevier's ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Jayne Dawkins | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>