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The COVID-19 Crisis: How to Cope with Fear and Social Isolation

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought multiple and sudden mental health stresses upon Americans en masse: isolation because of social distancing, the need to telecommute and care for children home from school, and for some, abrupt unemployment. Added to the logistical and economic burdens is the fear of contracting or dying from an illness that did not even exist a few months ago – and the ramifications for children and loved ones.

Preclinical Study Links Human Gene Variant to THC Reward in Adolescent Females

cannabis

A common variation in a human gene that affects the brain’s reward processing circuit increases vulnerability to the rewarding effects of the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis in adolescent females, but not males, according to preclinical research by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators. As adolescence represents a highly sensitive period of brain development with the highest risk for initiating cannabis use, these findings in mice have important implications for understanding the influence of genetics on cannabis dependence in humans.

Learning Safety Signals May Reduce Fear and Anxiety

Learning to associate distinct signals with safety has been shown by researchers to reduce fear and anxiety. Now, a study by investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian and Yale University demonstrates that these safety signals activate different circuits in the brain from those involved in typical anxiety therapy, suggesting the approach may enhance treatments for individuals with anxiety disorders or serve as an alternative to current interventions.

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Annual Holiday Newsletter

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