Scientists discover a gene that affects the way we deal with stress and keep emotions under control
We all know what it’s like to be stressed, but there are some who undoubtedly feel it more than others. Why? If new research is anything to go by, it’s all tied up in our genes.
Scientists have pinpointed a gene that influences our ability to cope with tense situations and keep emotions in check.
Their discovery explains why some deal with stressful situations better than others, and how it usually reflects our parents’ ability to cope with the going gets tough.
Researcher Professor Guillen Fernandez used scanners to look at how people’s brains lit up under stress.
He found that the amygdala, a primitive brain region that helps to control our emotions, was more active than those who had inherited the ‘stress gene’.
According to the Forum of European Neuroscience Societies annual conference, approximately half of us possess this gene, which only surfaces when people are put under pressure.
‘This is the first time a genetic variation has been found that shows a different response to emotional stimuli only when individuals are stressed.
‘We are currently investigating whether these people are also more prone to developing post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing a real trauma.’
And it doesn’t end there. Genes are also responsible for whether we look on the bright side of life, explaining why some individuals are more positive than others.
The news follows a study released earlier this year that revealed one in five of us inherit the ‘unfitness gene’ that leaves people feeling out of breath, regardless of how fit they are.