The right hemisphere and the human stress response.
ABSTRACT Evidence is presented that most components of the human stress response are influenced asymmetrically by the cerebral hemispheres. The right hemisphere is endowed with a unique response system preparing the organism to deal efficiently with external challenges. Therefore, both the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and the sympathetic-adrenomedullary (SA) axis seem to be under the main control of the right hemisphere.
- SourceAvailable from: João J Cerqueira[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays an important role in the integration of cognitive and affective behavior and regulating autonomic and neuroendocrine functions. This region of the brain, which may be considered analogous to the RAM memory of a computer, is important for translating stressful experience into adaptive behavior. The PFC responds to stress and modulates the response to stress through regulation of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) which, in turn, controls sympathoadrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity. Interestingly, the latter convey the signals that link the CNS with the immune system. The present review highlights findings that contribute to elucidate the involvement of the PFC in the control of behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to chronic stress. It also considers the implications of these regulatory links for disorders of the nervous and immune systems.Brain Behavior and Immunity 08/2008; 22(5):630-8. DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2008.01.005 · 6.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Personality processes relating to social perception have been shown to play a significant role in the experience of stress. In 5 studies, the authors demonstrate that early stage attentional processes influence the perception of social threat and modify the human stress response. The authors first show that cortisol release in response to a stressful situation correlates with selective attention toward social threat. Second, the authors show in 2 laboratory studies that this attentional pattern, most evident among individuals with low self-esteem, can be modified with a repetitive training task. Next, in a field study, students trained to modify their attentional pattern to reduce vigilance for social threat showed lower self-reported stress related to their final exam. In a final field study with telemarketers, the attentional training task led to increased self-esteem, decreased cortisol and perceived stress responses, higher confidence, and greater work performance. Taken together, these results demonstrate the impact of antecedent-focused strategies on the late-stage consequences of social stress.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 11/2007; 93(4):651-66. DOI:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.111 · 5.08 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Autonomic nerve dysregulation produces a sense of impaired well-being and interferes with work performance in affected individuals. In this study, we characterized the pathophysiology of this condition. Six patients with high symptom scores for orthostatic intolerance (OI) along with age- and sex-matched normal volunteers were directed to perform a head-down manoeuvre, and the change in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral oxygen levels (rSO(2)) in the right and left frontal lobes was measured using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). The head-down manoeuvre induced a much greater increase in right-sided total haemoglobin concentration (THbl) in normal volunteers (0.51+/-0.24) when compared to symptomatic patients (0.0+/-0.04) but had no effect on left-sided THbl (P<0.05) in either group. Five of 6 patients showed a gradual decrease in right-sided THbl when assuming a sitting position, and all patients with this pattern complained of symptoms of multiple autonomic dysfunction. Further, this pattern of changes in right-sided THbl was not observed in normal volunteers. The gradual decrease of THbl with the sitting position and the lack of increase during the head-down manoeuvre in symptomatic patients suggest that these patients have impaired vasoreactivity in the right frontal lobes. This impaired vasoreactivity likely reflects dysfunction of the right hemisphere and the sympathetic nervous system in patients with OI.Clinical Neurophysiology 06/2005; 116(6):1286-90. DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2005.02.005 · 2.98 Impact Factor