If You’re Emo and You Know It, Slit Your Wrists (slit, slit)

My daughter sang the title of this post to me the other day, and many folks have found it funny. Yet as the father of a tween, I’ve been seeing the tendancy to “emo” more and more… and those of us on LJ or MySpace see it all the time in postings.

Well, according to Science Daily (there’s also a good article on it here), scientists may have found an explanation. In the current edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers led by Sheryl S. Smith, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, report findings demonstrating that a hormone normally released in response to stress, THP, actually reverses its effect at puberty, when it increases anxiety. The hormone normally acts like a tranquilizer, acting at sites in the brain that “calm” brain activity. In the adult, this stress hormone helps the individual adapt to stress, with a calming effect produced half an hour after the event. Tests were performed on mice of all ages. It was discovered that, during adolescence, mice have the usual receptors, but also extra-high levels of a second kind that brings an anxious, rather than calming, response when THP attaches to it.

Well, the engineer likes having the explanation. However, it does nothing to help me deal with the “emo” teen in the house. How many years is it now until she calms down?