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The Neuroscience of True Grit

When tragedy strikes, most of us ultimately rebound surprisingly well.
Where does such resilience come from?

Toning Down the Brain's Alarm System
When faced with danger, the brain initiates a chemical cascade that primes you to put 'em up or run away. In turn, a series of chemicals in the brain can dampen this response, thereby pro­moting resilience to stress. One key chemical cycle begins when the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), causing the pituitary gland to secrete adrenocorticotro­pin hormone (ACTH) into the bloodstream, which triggers the adrenal glands (near the kidneys) to release the hormone corti­sol. Cortisol heightens the body's ability to respond to challeng­ing situations, but too much can over time cause lasting dam­age. To help keep things in check, a series of chemicals (two shown below) dampens the stress response. Drugs or psycho­therapy might stimulate production of these stress busters.

To read more . . .

Medical Tuesday Restored
Read an introduction by Dr Del Meyer.


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