Tuesday March 26, 2019

Adolescents suffering Trauma and Stress likely to Impair Ability to recognise Facial Expressions

The findings showed that adolescents with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are more likely to misidentify sad and angry faces as fearful

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depression
Depression has significantly increased the risk of early death in women. Wikimedia

New York, Feb 21, 2017: Adolescents suffering from trauma and stress are likely to have impairment in the ability to recognise facial expressions that is critical for social functioning and communicating emotions, researchers say.

The findings showed that adolescents with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are more likely to misidentify sad and angry faces as fearful.

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“Our findings suggest that exposure to stress and trauma can have acute emotional impacts that simply translate to misidentification of important affective cues,” said lead author Shabnam Javdani, Assistant Professor at New York University – Steinhardt in the US.

“Fear is particularly relevant for understanding PTSD, as the disorder has been associated with a ‘survival mode’ of functioning characterised by an overactive fight-or-flight response and increased threat perception,” Javdani added.

In contrast, teens with conduct disorder — a group of behavioural and emotional problems characterised by callousness or aggression towards others — were more likely to misidentify sad faces, but did not have trouble recognising angry or fearful faces.

Conduct disorder symptoms were associated with mistaking sadness for anger, suggesting that youth with higher levels of conduct disorder interpret sad faces as angry and may be less effective at recognising others’ sadness, pain and suffering.

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“Difficulty interpreting displays of sadness and misidentifying sadness as anger may contribute to the impaired affective bonding, low empathy, and callous behaviour observed in teens with conduct disorder,” Javdani said.

For the study, published in the journal Child and Adolescent Mental Health, the team examined 371 teens, ages 13-19, to understand the effects of PTSD and conduct disorder symptoms on how youth with emotional and behaviour problems process facial expressions.

Enhancing the accuracy of recognising facial expressions may be an important treatment goal for youth with symptoms of PTSD and conduct disorder, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Early Exposure To Alcohol Can Increases The Risk For Anxiety Later in Life

A study showed adolescent binge drinking, even if discontinued, increases the risk for anxiety later in life due to abnormal epigenetic programming. 

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drinking
"Binge drinking early in life modifies the brain and changes connectivity in the brain, especially in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional regulation and anxiety, in ways we don't totally understand yet," said Subhash Pandey, Professor at the University of Illinois in the US. Pixabay

Are you a heavy drinker? Take note. Alcohol exposure early has lasting effects on the brain and increases the risk of anxiety in adulthood, say researchers, including one of an Indian-origin.

A study showed adolescent binge drinking, even if discontinued, increases the risk for anxiety later in life due to abnormal epigenetic programming.

“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves.

“Binge drinking early in life modifies the brain and changes connectivity in the brain, especially in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional regulation and anxiety, in ways we don’t totally understand yet,” said Subhash Pandey, Professor at the University of Illinois in the US.

DNA
“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves. 
Pixabay

“But what we do know is that epigenetic changes are lasting and increase susceptibility to psychological issues later in life, even if drinking that took place early in life is stopped,” said Pandey.

For the study, adolescent rats that underwent an assessment for anxiety were exposed to ethyl alcohol for two days on and two days off or to the same protocol using saline for 14 days.

The rats were allowed to mature to adulthood without any further exposure to alcohol.

brain
“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves. 
Pixabay

The rats exhibited anxious behaviour later in life, even after the binge drinking regimen stopped in late adolescence. They also had lower levels of a protein called Arc in the amygdala.

Arc is important for the normal development of synaptic connections in the brain.

The findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

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Rats with less Arc also had about 40 per cent fewer neuronal connections in the amygdala compared with rats that weren’t exposed to alcohol.

The decrease in Arc levels is caused by epigenetic changes that alter the expression of Arc, and an enhancer RNA, which modifies the expression of Arc. These changes are caused by adolescent alcohol exposure, said Pandey. (IANS)