You’ve probably heard about cortisol, the stress hormone that our bodies release in response to and in anticipation of stressful events. But does cortisol provide a needed boost of energy or cause wear, tear, and fatigue? The most important feature of cortisol isn't how high or low it is, but if and when it fluctuates (its diurnal rhythm). The behavior, or pattern of its release, correlates with our ability to think, sleep, and even our ability to recognize how others are feeling. The key function of cortisol is its ability to rise and fall at the appropriate times to optimal levels; fluctuation is its superpower . Has the chronic stress of 2020 caused your cortisol to flatline? Source: ZRT Labs, used with permission It's 6:00 a.m., Monday morning, and you’re able to release enough cortisol to get washed and dressed, but then your childcare cancels and as you scramble to contact your backup plan, you step into the dog’s water bowl, rush to change socks, and … [Read more...] about Has 2020 Flatlined Your Cortisol?
I would like to share with you an exquisite essay written by a teenage girl with misophonia . She is in the 11th grade, and as you will see, describes her experience with the disorder with amazing detail. I hope that reading this will help others with misophonia feel less alone, and will help those unfamiliar with the disorder to better understand it. Most of all, I hope this essay generates hope amongst sufferers and their families. "I know it was winter on this particular day because it was snowing. Even inside the classroom, I was wearing my puffy winter coat that made me look like a marshmallow. With winter comes cold symptoms: coughing, sneezing, sniffling, etc. My desk buddy probably had a slight cold as he was plagued with the signs of one. Usually, I would hear the sounds that accompany a cold and not think twice of them, but for a reason unbeknownst to me, this day was different. I remember thinking, “You don’t know what I hear; I wish you could hear what I hear.” … [Read more...] about How Does a Teenager Explain Misophonia?
Is it possible to infer leadership qualities from snapshots of people’s faces? To answer this we could go back to the first ever televised presidential debate between Nixon and Kennedy in 1960. According to a poll conducted then by the market firm Sindlinger & Company, those listening to the radio picked Nixon as the winner of the debate, whereas the television watchers favored Kennedy. The television viewers agreed that Kennedy was the better and more competent looking of the two candidates. In the words of Frank Stanton, the former CBS boss “Kennedy was bronzed beautifully…Nixon looked like death.” In an attempt to replicate this result, 40 years later, political scientist James Druckman let half of his students listen to the audio clip of the debate whereas the other half watched the debate on video. These results converged with the original findings. So image really does matter in who we favor as leaders. Over the past decade there is a growing interest among leadership … [Read more...] about Do You Have the Face of a Leader?
Source: Rido/Shutterstock Olfaction may play an important role in the motivation to seek voluntary exercise, according to a new study. The University of California, Riverside (UCR) researchers speculate that "individual differences of exercise habit may be accounted for by a differentiated perception of specific smells." How are certain smells linked to exercise motivation? The recent study ( Nguyen et al., 2020 ) of the chemosensory system and voluntary exercise behavior in mice suggests that activating specific pheromone-sensing neurons can motivate mice (and other mammals, such as humans) to seek aerobic activity by upregulating dopaminergic reward via ventral tegmental area (VTA)-nucleus accumbens (NAc) circuitry. These findings were published on Nov. 25 in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE . For mice living in laboratory environments, voluntary wheel running (VWR) is equivalent to a "runner" being self-motivated to jog on a treadmill or a "biker" taking a … [Read more...] about Need Motivation to Exercise? Olfaction Is a Primal Motivator
When the brain is injured, as in cases of TBI, concussion, stroke, or other neurological conditions, there are critical steps medical professionals must take to preserve and restore brain organization and function. Based on my own clinical experiences and after thoroughly researching the medical literature of brain injury, I’ve identified 5 key strategies to achieve this preservation and restoration. Strategy 1: Neuroprotection through restorative interventions Reduce the impact of injury in the immediate period following brain injury by providing acute interventions that attempt to restore and stabilize the brain. Preservation of the neurons one is born with is the most important factor in recovery after brain injury, which can be achieved by measures that prevent injury in the first place. When injury does occur, implementation of interventions that preserve brain cells are critical. The measures taken to preserve blood supply, maintain oxygen and nutrition to the brain, … [Read more...] about Top 5 Strategies for Brain Recovery After Injury