Latest research on neural science has revealed that they have found cells in the brain that are responsible for dealing with stress. The research team belongs to the University of Leicester. The team of neuroscientists responsible for the discovery said the results of the finding will help in determining the mechanism involved in dealing with stress, which in turn will be a great leap towards providing stress busting treatments and deeper issues regarding the brain. These cells are said to be shaped like mushrooms. Discovery of the cells could also help in blocking memories that cause trauma and depression. As per the research, there are certain kinds of proteins that are responsible for reducing stress in the mind and dictate the process of storage of painful memories.
When experiments were conducted on mice, it was found that mice that had this protein in low amounts were more susceptible to depressive behavior such as hiding in dark corners. Experts say that stress causes a lot of chemical and neural activity in the brain and causes a change in the morphology of the cells. The “reshaping” of the brain helps people cope with stress. Reactions to stress are different in different people depending on the efficiency of the protein in impacting the manner in which brain cells communicate with each other. This mechanism acts as a buffer or shock absorber in response to stress. When the stress is severe, this mechanism is disturbed and instead of resisting stress, cells begin to become more introvert and do not communicate effectively with other neurons. The major portion of the brain that is affected due to this mechanism is hippocampus, which is the center of retention power and learning in the brain.
When communication between these memory cells falls drastically, a person succumbs to mental disorders such as depression. In order to cope with stress, the brain reorganizes cells, known as dendritic spines, such that there is better exchange of information between them. Dendritic spines are tiny particles that are one-thousandth of one millimeter. These cells are hyperactive cells that are restless, curious and try to communicate with new cells all the time. This inquisitive quality of the cells is what contributes to a human’s ability to learn and remember. These dendrites accumulate information over time and “grow up”. In other words they mature. Once they grow up, they stabilize and remain attached to fixed communication partners. It is these cells that try to suppress painful memories and bring a balance in neural activity. The current research has found a protein called lipocalin-2 that helps in controlling the number of these dendritic “memory” spines and hence, reduces memories that are painful.