Anxiety and PTSD linked to increased myelin in brain's gray matter
Resilience to stress and differential symptoms correlate with regional changes in the brain
Date: January 7, 2022 Source: University of California - Berkeley
Scientists have shown in both anxious rats and military veterans with PTSD that acute stress is associated with increased myelination of axons in areas of the brain associated with memory and emotions.
These areas in the brain's gray matter are normally only lightly myelinated. Since myelin speeds communication in the brain, the increased myelination may be making some neural circuits hyperresponsive to memories of trauma.
The good news is, if this is happening in people with anxiety or PTSD, the brain has neuroplasticity. So with the right therapies, the brain can be changed. Maybe neuroplasticity works in part by demyelination of these "over-myelinated" neural circuits.