Evelyn Erives

Evelyn Erives

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Scientists Discovered A New Way Our Furry Friends Help Combat Anxiety

Portrait of happy multiracial couple scratching their pet dog, sitting on floor at home

Photo: Getty Images

We know that dogs can sniff out stress, but now scientists discovered a new way our furry friends help combat anxiety.

Dog cuddle sessions make people more sociable, reveals new research. Watching, feeling, and touching canines can boost neurons in the prefrontal cortex — the area of the brain that helps regulate emotional interactions, according to SWNS.

The snuggly study, published in the journal PLOS One, found the positive effect persists after the dogs are no longer present but are reduced when the pets are replaced with stuffed animals. The participants wore a skull cap with sensors that shone infrared light into their brains as they spent time petting and being with the canine.

Each condition was also performed with Leo, a stuffed lion. The plush's fur was filled with a water bottle to match the temperature and weight of the live dogs used in the study.

Results showed prefrontal brain activity was more significant when participants interacted with the real dogs.

Time to get a dog or even volunteer at your local animal shelter.


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