Estrogen and Stress

Estrogen and the neurobiology of stress. Becca Shansky, a Yale grad student, published a report in the March issue of Molecular Psychiatry detailing her discovery that high levels of estrogen increase the brain’s reaction to stress. Women have twice the levels of stress-related mental illnesses as men, but this is only true post-menarche and pre-menopause. While the traditional expanation (among women) has been that this is the inevitable result of living with men, the protocol of Shansky’s research (supported by her advisor, Amy Amsten, MD) presents a strong finding that higher estrogen levels correlate with greater sensitivity to stress on memory tasks. (1/22)

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