Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Anxiety and the U.S. Election

U.S. election season is reaching its zenith as we find ourselves in an endless tug of war between local and national political candidates, each vying for our vote. Emotions, including anxiety, are running high among candidates, electorates, and even from other countries that are not involved in the election process. As scientists, we appreciate the calming effects of facts and data, so we decided to detach from the day-to-day election buzz to take a look at how our instruments are being used to characterize anxiety in the laboratory.

Modulation of Anxiety and Fear via Distinct Intrahippocampal Circuits
In characterizing mouse hippocampal sub-regions, these researchers demonstrate separate regions of interest that are specific to suppressing anxiety and fear. Total RNA from these regions was measured using the Synergy HT Multi-Mode Reader.

Acute Stress Dysregulates the LPP ERP Response to Emotional Pictures and Impairs Sustained Attention: Time-Sensitive Effects (direct pdf download)
When ascertaining the effects of acute stress on subsequent emotion processing following an acute stressor, the ELx800 Absorbance Reader was used to measure salivary cortisol levels in female undergraduate students.

Anxiety, Depression, Stress, and Cortisol Levels in Mothers of Children Undergoing Maintenance Therapy for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Salivary cortisol levels were also measured, this time using a PowerWave 340, in mothers of healthy children, and also mothers of children with leukemia as part of a study to compare anxiety, depression and stress among these groups.

Regulator of Calcineurin 1 Modulates Expression of Innate Anxiety and Anxiogenic Responses to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Treatment
Using mice, regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1) is positively identified as influencing expression of anxiety-related and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-related behaviors, which makes it a possible therapeutic target for anxiety. Calcineurin phosphatase activity in mouse prefrontal cortexes was measured using a Synergy 2.

We certainly feel less anxious now, but if those weren’t enough to calm you this election cycle, you can try a distraction technique. Here’s a picture of a basket of kittens. Enjoy!

Kittens

By, BioTek Instruments

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