Dr. Gail Taylor
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in stress has found its way to many people in our society today. According to the American Psychological Association, by the end of 2020, nearly half of all U.S. adults (49%) say that stress has negatively affected their behavior. Psychological stress can cause alterations on brain function that result in many mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Areas of the brain such as the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex, which are responsible for regulating our emotions, are key to understanding these changes. Research in this area is important in identifying which neural elements, within these parts of the brain, exhibit vulnerability toward stress. Additionally, it can help reveal alterations on important neural mechanisms that lead to the emotional and behavioral deficits shown many mental health problems caused by stress.