Tuesday October 22, 2019

Human Body May Not Cope With Evening Stress, Study Reveals

The team first measured the diurnal rhythm of salivary cortisol levels from the volunteers and then exposed one group to stress test in the morning, and another to the evening

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Your body may not cope with evening stress: Study. Pixabay

Human bodies which experience stress in the evening release less cortisol — the primary stress hormone in humans — compared to stressful events in the morning, and thus may pose vulnerabilities, according to a new research.

The study, led by medical physiologist Yujiro Yamanaka at Japan’s Hokkaido University, the body’s central system reacts less strongly to acute psychological stress in the evening than it does in the morning, suggesting possible vulnerability to stressful events in the evening.

“Our study suggests a possible vulnerability to stress in the evening. However, it is important to take into account each individual’s unique biological clock and the time of day when assessing the response to stressors and preventing them,” Yamanaka commented.

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology Reports, explored a small group of young and healthy volunteers with normal work hours and sleep habits to find out if the “hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal” (HPA) axis responds differently to acute psychological stress according to the time of day.

The HPA axis connects the central nervous and endocrine systems of the body. Cortisol is released for several hours when the HPA axis is activated by a stressful event.

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Representational image. Pixabay

This helps provide the body with energy in the face of a perceived need for fight or flight. Cortisol levels are also regulated by a master circadian clock in the brain and are normally high in the morning and low in the evening.

The team first measured the diurnal rhythm of salivary cortisol levels from the volunteers and then exposed one group to stress test in the morning, and another to the evening.

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The researchers found that salivary cortisol levels increased significantly in the volunteers that took the stress test in the morning while no such response was observed in those that took the test in the evening.

“Our body can respond to the morning stress event by activating the HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system, but it needs to respond to evening stress event by activating the sympathetic nervous system only,” Yamanaka said. (IANS)

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Physical and Psychological Stress during Pregnancy may Affect Baby’s Sex

About 17 per cent of the women were psychologically stressed, with clinically meaningful high levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress

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For the findings, published in the journal PNAS, the research team examined 27 indicators of psychosocial, physical and lifestyle stress collected from questionnaires, diaries, and daily physical assessments of 187 otherwise healthy pregnant women, aged between 18 to 45. Pixabay

Pregnant women experiencing physical and psychological stress are less likely to have a boy, says a new study.

“Stress can also affect the mother’s immune system, leading to changes that affect neurological and behavioural development in the foetus,” said study leader Catherine Monk, Professor at Columbia University Vagelos College in the US.

“What’s clear from our study is that maternal mental health matters, not only for the mother but also for her future child,” Monk said.

For the findings, published in the journal PNAS, the research team examined 27 indicators of psychosocial, physical and lifestyle stress collected from questionnaires, diaries, and daily physical assessments of 187 otherwise healthy pregnant women, aged between 18 to 45.

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Stress can also affect the mother’s immune system, leading to changes that affect neurological and behavioural development in the foetus. Pixabay

About 17 per cent of the women were psychologically stressed, with clinically meaningful high levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress.

Another 16 per cent were physically stressed, with relatively higher daily blood pressure and greater caloric intake compared with other healthy pregnant women.

The majority (nearly 125) were healthy.

The study suggested that pregnant women experiencing physical and psychological stress are less likely to have a boy.

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The sex ratio in the physically and psychologically stressed groups favoured girls, with male-to-female ratios of 4:9 and 2:3, respectively.

According to the researchers, physically stressed mothers, with higher blood pressure and caloric intake, were more likely to give birth prematurely than unstressed mothers.

Psychologically stressed mothers had more birth complications than physically stressed mothers, the study said.

An estimated 30 per cent of pregnant women report psychosocial stress from job strain or related to depression and anxiety.

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What’s clear from our study is that maternal mental health matters, not only for the mother but also for her future child. Pixabay

Such stress has been associated with increased risk of premature birth, which is linked to higher rates of infant mortality and of physical and mental disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety, among offspring.

Also Read- Severe Sleep Apnea Linked to Vision Loss in Diabetic Patients

When social support was statistically equalised across the groups, the stress effects on pre-term birth disappeared, the study added. (IANS)