Loss of NG2 Glia Implicated in Emergence of Depression Symptoms

Vignesh Subramanian ’24 Glia are non-neuronal cells that host and provide a number of homeostatic ancillary functions in both the central (CNS) and peripheral (PNS) nervous systems. Though only recently discovered and characterized, glial cells vastly outnumber neurons and provide them with structural support and insular protection, driving their myelination (the process of forming coverings known as myelin sheaths that coat neurons’ signaling axons), facilitating … Continue reading Loss of NG2 Glia Implicated in Emergence of Depression Symptoms

The COVID-19 Pandemic is Associated with Increased Rates of OCD in Pregnant Women

Yukta Kulkarni ’22 Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder indicated by intrusive thoughts, such as fears of uncleanliness, which lead to repetitive behaviors. While it is common in the US, OCD rates have increased in the overall population due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is thought that higher OCD occurrences are due to fear of how contagious the virus is and how little … Continue reading The COVID-19 Pandemic is Associated with Increased Rates of OCD in Pregnant Women

Discrimination During COVID-19 Exacerbates Academic Disconnect of Asian Students

Zhifei Zeng ’23 Since January 2020, the world has been suffering from a pandemic brought about by COVID-19. In addition to the direct health threat posed by the virus, a survey showed that the rate of racist and xenophobic attacks against Asians increased all over the globe, especially in the United States. In fact, the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center has reported 3,800 hate crimes … Continue reading Discrimination During COVID-19 Exacerbates Academic Disconnect of Asian Students

Pandemic-related Stress Overwhelms Pregnant Women Globally

Joyce Chen ’23 Within the past year, the onset and duration of the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world. Aside from the detrimental effects on physical health, the virus has taken a significant impact on mental wellbeing. Many pregnant women have reported feeling heightened levels of stress at this time because they do not feel prepared to give birth and are afraid of their … Continue reading Pandemic-related Stress Overwhelms Pregnant Women Globally

Predicting Externalizing Behavior in Infants

Yukta Kulkarni ’22 The minds of children are malleable and easily influenced by the circumstances they are placed into. Their experiences in early life can elicit certain actions according to the emotions they may not be able to process and control. This can be defined as externalizing behavior. More often than not, children who face trauma or stress such as abuse or poverty have higher … Continue reading Predicting Externalizing Behavior in Infants

Mindfulness Training Can Reduce Stress In University Students

Robyn Rutgers ’24 Psychological distress in university students has become a public health concern due to its increased prevalence. Evidence has suggested issues such as academic performance and financial struggles as potential causes of such distress. The increase in psychiatric disorders among university students presents a need for strategies allowing students to improve their psychological well-being. Research shows that mindfulness training in university settings produces … Continue reading Mindfulness Training Can Reduce Stress In University Students

Stressful life events affect hormone levels in children undergoing puberty

Joyce Chen ’23 Puberty is a physiological developmental process that every child undergoes during their preteen years. It occurs through the production of a wide variety of hormones within the body. Specifically, the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis and the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are involved in initiating an upregulation of hormonal changes, leading to the secretion of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. Recent research indicates that … Continue reading Stressful life events affect hormone levels in children undergoing puberty

How the Mental Health of College Students in China has been Affected by COVID-19

Yukta Kulkarni ’22 The COVID-19 pandemic has taken over the world in a way that disrupts almost everyone’s previous way of life. People can no longer leave their house without wearing a mask, socialize within 6 feet of friends and family, or go to work/school. These inconveniences are minor, though, compared to those that people diagnosed with, or know someone with, COVID-19 experience. This can … Continue reading How the Mental Health of College Students in China has been Affected by COVID-19

Comfort Eating and Cortisol Reactivity

Ayesha Azeem ‘23 “Comfort-eating,” or increased food intake, is one of the most common responses to stressful situations. Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone that regulates metabolism and the immune response to stressful situations. Cortisol reactivity under stress can predict stress-related eating behavior and how it affects the body mass index (BMI). Based on one’s cortisol reactivity to a stressor, a person may be … Continue reading Comfort Eating and Cortisol Reactivity

The Relationship Between Inflammation and Mental Sluggishness

Ellie Teng ‘21 Mental sluggishness or ‘brain fog’ is often comorbid with inflammation, the body’s response to  an illness. Previous research has shown the negative impact of inflammation on the brain’s alert state. Although it is still unclear as to how inflammation impacts specific processes of the brain, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham evaluated the impact of mild acute inflammation … Continue reading The Relationship Between Inflammation and Mental Sluggishness

Moderate consumption of alcohol linked to cardiovascular benefits

Nita Wong ’21 Nearly 85 years after the end of Prohibition, alcohol remains a controversial topic. While the excessive consumption of alcohol may disrupt communication pathways within the brain and damage the heart, liver, and pancreas, consumption in moderation can protect the heart from coronary disease. While the biochemical basis of the latter correlation has long remained a mystery, a recent study conducted by researchers … Continue reading Moderate consumption of alcohol linked to cardiovascular benefits

Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Prenatal Stress on Offspring Glucocorticoid Levels

By Maryna Mullerman’20 The Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA)-axis is an important pathway that mediates the relationship between prenatal stress and later offspring development. Glucocorticoids—the final steroid hormones in the HPA-axis released by the cortex of the adrenal gland — are closely associated with prenatal stress in humans. To investigate the strength of this association among different animal species, Zaneta M. Thayer and researchers from Dartmouth … Continue reading Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Prenatal Stress on Offspring Glucocorticoid Levels