Anxiety Inherited From Parents
Some of the brain function related to anxiety and depression comes through your genes, concludes a new study involving monkeys at the University of Wisconsin-Madison–although that doesn’t necessarily mean it will result in a full-blown mental disorder.
For the study, the team used rhesus monkeys, who at younger ages often display “anxious temperament.” This trait is also found in young children, where, when in uncomfortable situations such as being in a room with a stranger, the children will stop moving or speaking, but their hormones will spike.
Researchers scanned the brains of 592 young monkeys, anxious and not, and found that three brain regions associated with anxiety appeared to be inherited. They estimated that 35 percent of the variation in anxiety could be explained by the genes passed down by the monkey’s parents.
Overall, the scientists found that there was more activity in the anxious brains, with the hereditary parts of the brain responding to normal threats as if they were major.
The good news, according to the researchers, is that roughly 70 percent of brain variation is not caused by genes, meaning there’s still a lot of room for a person’s upbringing and environment to reduce the chances of a major mental disorder
NEXT: FDA to Toughen Heart Attack Warnings on Ibuprofen