Study Shows Stress in Adolescence Prepares Rats for Future Challenges

University Park, PA (Scicasts) — Rats exposed to frequent physical, social, and predatory stress during adolescence solved problems and foraged more efficiently under high-threat conditions in adulthood compared with rats that developed without stress, according to Penn State researchers. The results may provide insights into how humans respond to adolescent stress. “Even though the stressed rats were really run through the gamut, they do not come out with an overall cognitive deficit,” said Lauren Chaby, Ph.D. student in neuroscience and ecology, Penn State. “What they do have is this context-specific performance that’s linked to the environment that they experienced during adolescence.” Researchers are interested in the effects of maltreatment and adverse environments during human adolescence, but this can be difficult to study. Chaby turned to rats to investigate this question…


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