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Mental Stress Induces Brain Rush

New research discovers mental stress causes carotid artery dilation and increases brain blood flow.

A series of ultrasound experiments, described in BioMed Central’s open access journal Cardiovascular Ultrasound, also found that this dilatory reflex was absent in people with high blood pressure.

University of Southern California and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center researchers evaluated carotid artery reactivity and brain blood flow in response to mental stress in 10 healthy young volunteers (aged between 19 and 27 years), 20 older healthy volunteers (aged 38 to 60 years) and in 28 patients with essential hypertension (aged 38 to 64 years).

They found that in healthy subjects, mental stress caused vasodilation. This was accompanied by a net increase in brain blood flow. In hypertensive subjects, mental stress produced no vasodilation and no significant change in brain blood flow.

During the experiments, the volunteers were set a series of tasks designed to provoke mental stress, including reading, arithmetic and anger recall tests. The researchers used ultrasound imaging to measure the effects of this activity on the carotid artery and an artery within the brain, while also measuring blood pressure and heart rate.

According to the authors, “Inappropriate vasoconstriction, or lack of dilation in response to mental stress in stable coronary heart disease, contributes to the genesis of myocardial ischemia and confers an increased risk in patients with coronary artery disease.

“It will be interesting to see whether the lack of mental stress induced dilation we found defines subjects at increased risk of future cerebral events”.

Lack of required blood flow increase to the brain during mental activities may potentially affect cognition and cerebral performance during complex cerebral tasks.

Source: BioMed Central

Mental Stress Induces Brain Rush

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Mental Stress Induces Brain Rush. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/07/03/mental-stress-induces-brain-rush/6902.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.