WEEKLY UPDATE: November 2, 2019
SUMMARY: Identification of 48 genetic loci, including 40 novel loci, associated with the brain’s subcortical volume.
OVERVIEW: The brain is a complex organ made up of many regions that have different functions allowing us to talk, walk, think, breathe, and do nearly everything else required to live. One set of brain regions residing deep within the brain are called ‘subcortical structures’. These structures, which include the amygdala, pituitary gland, brainstem, and others, play critical roles in learning, memory, and emotion. However, changes of subcortical structures are also linked with various cognitive and psychological disorders. This study aimed to better understand the genetic variants that are associated with the volume of subcortical brain structures and its relation to the development of neurological disorders. By examining the genomes of nearly 40,000 individuals of European ancestry, this study identified 48 genetic variants that correlate with the volume of various subcortical structures in the brain. These variants are near genes that have a diverse array of functions, ranging from controlling the information flow in our nervous system to neurodevelopment to inflammation.
DID YOU KNOW? A subcortical structure called the amygdala is the primary region involved in how we respond to feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety. During a “fight or flight” response, the amygdala overrides the more rational, logical parts of the brain. To help prevent the amygdala from taking control in times of stress or fear, be mindful and try to think rationally. [SOURCE]