Under Stress? You Might Suffer Less If You’re Male

  • Share
  • Read Later

Hispanic Business Entrepreneur

Men just scored a small victory in the gender wars, courtesy of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Turns out, when a guy says he responds  to stress with more control than his wife does, he knows what he’s talking about — and brain cells appear to prove it.NIMH scientists conducted an experiment in which they exposed male and female rats to what they decorously called “a stressful swim” — which is best left unexplored in more detail. They then studied receptors on the brain cells of the rats that bond with corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), a hormone that triggers stress reactions. In female rats, the CRF receptors remain active and open long after the stressful experience. In male rats, they soon shut down, actually retreating into the cell temporarily and effectively snuffing the negative reaction.

OK, these are rats, not people, and even the most promising studies sometimes don’t survive the species jump. But what happens in brain cells is usually writ large in the brain itself and if the withdraw-and-shut-down strategy doesn’t sound like exactly the way human males react to negative stimulus (including a bad day at work or an argument with the wife), nothing does. Boys, it appear are boys — even when they’re rodents.