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Stress hormone is key factor in failure of immune system to prevent leukemia -- ScienceDaily

They do this by using cortisol to force the release of a protein, latrophilin 1. This in turn causes the secretion of another protein, galectin-9, which suppresses the body's natural anti-cancer immune mechanism. Dr Sumbayev's team, working with researchers from two German universities and the UK's Diamond Light Source facility, found that although healthy human white blood cells are not affected by cortisol they become capable of releasing latrophilin 1 when malignant transformation takes place. Malignant AML cells then use cortisol to increase the release of latrophilin 1 so that they can use it to avoid the immune system. The study concluded that galectin-9, as well as a natural binding partner of latrophilin 1 -- known as FLRT3 -- which are both present in human blood plasma, are the most promising targets for future anti-AML immune therapy.

Why "Wilder" Nature Is Better for Your Health | Outside Online

In addition, visitors to the park and wilderness area had increased levels of joy; and visitors to the wilderness area were the only ones to have a significant decrease in cortisol levels. That’s consistent with the “levels of nature” hypothesis, much like another recent study that saw greater improvements in insulin sensitivity and oxidative stress in Korean women who spent a half-day in a “wild forest” compared to a “tended forest.”

The immune system and the pathogenesis of depression

There is bidirectional communication between the HPA axis and the immune system. Cytokines activate the HPA axis and thus lead to the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, which ordinarily suppresses the immune response. Cortisol also inhibits its own release and thus the body is able to maintain a stable immune response through a tightly regulated feedback inhibition system. This regulation mechanism seems to be dysfunctional in depressive disorders and is thought to occur because of cytokine mediated receptor resistance to cortisol, thus impairing feedback inhibition. This essentially means that cytokines make cortisol unable to act on the receptors that would inhibit its release. Long story short — the HPA axis is hyperactive because of cytokines, leading to a chronic stress response because cytokines impair the body’s ability to regulate it — thus leading to depressive symptoms.

Risk of Burnout Can Be Estimated by Analyzing Saliva Samples - Neuroscience News

According to the researchers, compared with the previously used early-morning samples – taken three times after waking at fifteen-minute intervals – the midday and evening saliva samples also provided a much better and more reliable result: “Our current data indicate that people at risk of burnout can be identified from a single saliva sample with almost 100% accuracy, whereas the multiple early-morning sampling involved more laborious methods and produced a much larger range of variation.” Reliable analysis is now possible just four hours after providing the sample and this method even produced better results than analysing stress-related blood parameters. “We will use these results to further reinforce our efforts to prevent stress-related illnesses in collaboration with the stress clinic of the KFA Health and Prevention Center.

How social isolation transforms the brain: A particular neural chemical is overproduced during long-term social isolation, causing increased aggression and fear -- ScienceDaily

Confirming and extending previous observations, the researchers showed that prolonged social isolation leads to a broad array of behavioral changes in mice. These include increased aggressiveness towards unfamiliar mice, persistent fear, and hypersensitivity to threatening stimuli. For example, when encountering a threatening stimulus, mice that have been socially isolated remain frozen in place long after the threat has passed, whereas normal mice stop freezing soon after the threat is removed. These effects are seen when mice are subjected to two weeks of social isolation, but not to short-term social isolation -- 24 hours -- suggesting that the observed changes in aggression and fear responses require chronic isolation.

Stress helps unlearn fear: New findings on extinction learning may prove useful for therapies -- ScienceDaily

"Pharmacological studies have demonstrated that the treatment of anxiety disorders can be improved if the stress hormone cortisol is administered to the patients," says Oliver Wolf. "Our study has produced evidence for an underlying mechanism." Under the umbrella of the Collaborative Research Centre 1280, several research groups from Bochum are planning to investigate if an exposure to stress prior to exposure therapy may improve its efficacy.

Stress and hippocampus

Research in the neurological literature for years has shown changes in the hippocampus when one has experienced long stress – so a release of hormones such as cortisol actually causes damage to the hippocampus. But as it turns out, it may be that damage to the hippocampus also regulates one’s stress response – and that could contribute to the onset of depression. Again, it’s another one of these vicious cycles. We have a list of 100 potentially stressful events – divorce, moving house, losing loved ones, etc. We found that our group of depressed individuals had not experienced more stressful events in their lives – but they had experienced them as more stressful.

Recovery Is All in Your Head | Outside Online

“Interfering with the natural stress response, particularly by prolonging it, is maladaptive,” says Kiely. “The brain and body will only dedicate resources to rebuilding if it doesn’t feel an emergency is around the corner.” In other words, rushing to work and cranking on a deadline report after a challenging morning workout may seriously mitigate positive physical gains.