New application of fMRI technique may help physicians better diagnose and treat the effects of stress
Using a novel application of an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) technique, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have, for the first time, visualized the effects of everyday psychological stress in a healthy human brain. Their work, performed at Penns Center for Functional Neuroimaging, provides a neuro-imaging marker of psychological stress -- which will pave the way for the development of improved strategies for preventing or correcting the long-term health consequences of chronic stress. The researchers study appears in the November 21 online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In the Penn study, researchers induced stress on healthy subjects by asking them to quickly tackle challenging mental exercises while being monitored for performance. During the fMRI scans, the researchers also recorded subjects emotional responses -- such as stress, anxiety, and frustration -- and measured the corresponding changes in stress hormone and heart rate. Many subjects described themselves as being "flustered, distracted, rushed and upset" by the stress task.
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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