Study: Teens could face depression risk later in life due to brain triggers from using social media

Study: Teens could face depression risk later in life due to brain triggers from using social media

According to a latest Canadian study, some teenagers could be vulnerable to depression and mental illness later in life because of brain triggers from exposure to social media. Led by University of Montreal professor Sonia Lupien, the study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. The study observed the behavior of 88 participants between the age group of 12-17 years.

During the study, researcher observed the effect simple actions on the social media site had on the cortisol levels of teenagers. They noted the levels four times every day for three days, and discovered that the participants, who had over 300 friends, had high cortisol level, and mentioned that they think levels would increase with users, having even more friends than that.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone, which is the regulator of a number of processes in human body like immune response and metabolism. High cortisol levels are linked to a range of problems like heart disease, lowered immune function, weight gain and high blood pressure.

According to a 2013 study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Science, published in Science, high cortisol levels were triggers for mental illness, mainly for teenagers.

Study leader Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D, said, “We have discovered a mechanism for how environmental factors, such as stress hormones, can affect the brain’s physiology and bring about mental illness”.

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