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Scientists have discovered that managing emotions can prevent pathological aging.

Negative emotions, anxiety, and depression are believed to contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases and dementia. However, the effects of these emotions on the brain and the possibility of limiting their harmful effects are still the subject of research. To shed some light on this issue, neuroscientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) studied the brain activation patterns of both young and old people when exposed to psychological stress from others.

The neural connections of the elderly show significant emotional rigidity: negative emotions alter these connections excessively and persistently, particularly in the posterior cingulate cortex and amygdala, two brain regions that play a critical role in emotion regulation and autobiographical memory.

These results, which will be published in the journal, Nature Aging show that better management of these emotions – through meditation, for example – can help limit neurodegeneration.

For the past 20 years, neuroscientists have studied how the brain responds to emotions.

D., a researcher at the Swiss Center for Emotional Sciences UNIGE and the German Neurodegenerative Research Center, the last author of the study. “We begin to understand what an emotional stimulus is as soon as it is perceived,” explains Olga Klimecki. carried out as part of a European research project jointly managed by UNIGE.

“But what happens next remains a mystery. How does the brain move from one emotion to another? How does it return to its original state? Does emotional lability change with age? What are the consequences for the brain of mismanaging emotions?

The top image shows differential brain activation between 27 older adults and 29 young adults during rest periods after high emotional (post-HE) and low emotional (post-LE) videos in Experiment 1. The bottom image shows the brain regions that respond. Resting times after HE > LE and the correlation of these activations with emotional responses during the HE > LE videos in Experiment 2 with data from 127 older adults

Previous psychological research has shown that the ability to change emotions quickly is good for mental health. Conversely, people who cannot regulate their emotions and stay in the same emotional state for a long time are at greater risk of depression.

Source: Port Altele

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