Stress can contribute to the development of numerous chronic diseases, including depression, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and aging disorders.
Women and men’s brains handle stress differently; altering the way each gender may experience these diseases, according to new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers looked at the brain activity of healthy men and women while they viewed stressful images. Women underwent the scanning twice, once during the beginning of the menstrual cycle and once during ovulation, and their results were then compared to the men’s results.
Brain activity in response to stress was similar in men and women at the beginning of the women’s menstrual cycle. However, the response to stress was much higher in men than women during ovulation. “We found that women have a natural hormonal capacity to regulate the stress response in the brain that differs from men,” says lead study author Jill Goldstein, PhD.
“Diseases that are affected by stress often present differently in men and women,” says Goldstein. “Understanding gender differences in stress regulation can provide clues to understanding the nature of these chronic health disorders and can provide the basis for sex-specific treatments for these diseases.”
Stress symptoms may include:
• Concentration difficulties.
• Generalized aches and pains.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage for stress management as well as a wide range of health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.