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Feel stressed? Maybe because you're a woman

A new study has discovered that there is a biological reason why women have more stress-related problems then men.

Women suffer from more depression and stress-related disorders and researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia took a look at animals to understand why.

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They studied stress signaling systems in rat brains and found that females are more sensitive to low levels of a hormone called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which organizes stress responses in mammals.

"This is the first evidence for sex differences in how neurotransmitter receptors traffic signals," said study leader Rita J. Valentino, a behavioral neuroscientist at hospital, in a statement.  "Although more research is certainly necessary to determine whether this translates to humans, this may help to explain why women are twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders."

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The research was published online Wednesday in Molecular Psychiatry.

Rats were given a swim test, and researchers discovered that in female rats were not only more responsive to the hormone but after exposure to stress, male rats had more of an adaptive response in their brain cells.

Past stress studies focused on males and this response may have gone unnoticed. Treatment may in the future consider the sex of the patient, researchers said.

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