Stress affects brain’s blood flow
September 11, 2018
Using fMRI, they indirectly observed changes in blood flow in the brains of 59 study participants while subjected to a standard test intended to elicit psychosocial stress. The results showed that the peak latency of the hemodynamic response function (HRF) increased in several brain regions, including temporal and prefrontal cortex, indicating changes in blood flow regulation in response to acute stress.
Further analysis showed that genetic differences in the expression of KCNJ2, a human analog of a gene that regulates neurovascular coupling under stress in rats, was associated with HRF changes. According to the authors, understanding changes in the HRF response could potentially aid in assessing an individual’s risk for stress-related illness.