Vagus nerve in yellow. Source: Sebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock Inflammatory responses play a central role in the development and persistence of many diseases and can lead to debilitating chronic pain. In many cases, inflammation is your body's response to stress. Therefore, reducing "fight-or-flight" responses in the nervous system and lowering biological markers for stress can also reduce inflammation. Typically, doctors prescribe medications to combat inflammation. However, there's growing evidence that another way to combat inflammation is by engaging the vagus nerve and improving “vagal tone.” This can be achieved through daily habits such as yoga and meditation—or in more extreme cases of inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)—by using an implanted device for vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). The vagus nerve is known as the "wandering nerve" because it has multiple branches that diverge from two thick stems rooted in the cerebellum and … [Read more...] about Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation
Farmington hills library
Based in Revelstoke, British Columbia, ski-mountaineer Greg Hill has completed many first descents but is best known for climbing and skiing 2 million vertical feet (609km/378 miles) in 2010. This feat required him to ascend (and then descend) 71 mountains in North and South America in one calendar year – and he did about half of them solo. The following year, Men’s Fitness magazine not surprisingly named Hill one of the ‘Top 25 Fittest Guys in the World’. He has summited and skied over 220 mountains all over the globe, including in Scandinavia, the Alps, Nepal and Pakistan. Still from The Electric Adventurer, starring Greg Hill. Source: Courtesy Rylo/The Electric Adventurer. For Hill, the mountains represent a bottomless source of energy and happiness. When I spoke to him he pointed out a history of depression among the men in his family but said he has avoided that illness. ‘In my family there are some “dark passengers” but I … [Read more...] about Ski-Mountaineering and Self-Knowledge
Awe calms the mind and soothes the spirit. It defuses anxiety, stress, and unhappiness, while also inspiring curiosity and enhancing creativity. And yet, it is being snuffed out by our increasingly homogenized world. Thankfully, awe is easy to inspire. Close your eyes. Imagine that you are standing atop a tall craggy mountain: Wind whistling through your hair, sun shining on your face. Feel the immensity of the mountains around you. See their snow-capped peaks streaming off into the distance in every direction. And there…over there…is an immense storm barrelling towards you. You are held in awe by nature’s power. Awe is that feeling you get when confronted with something vast that transcends normality, and that you struggle to fully understand. It’s amazement tinged with an edge of fear. Your senses are sharpened and fuse into one over-arching sense of being. The mind is stilled and you lose your egocentric sense of self. You become lost in the scene that … [Read more...] about Is Awe Our Most Underrated and Powerful Emotion?
Before we look at the different groupings in which I’ve arranged my selections, I’d like to say a few words about what I didn’t include, and why. I chose to eliminate many quotes from consideration because they referred to something as infinite solely because it was beyond their grasp—without, that is, saying anything meaningful about this most elusive of concepts. Other quotes simply didn’t withstand scrutiny: To be blunt, upon examination they were simply hyperbolic or didn’t make much sense. My favorite here? Drew Barrymore’s somewhat pompous statement: “Everything I do, I do infinite percent.” Many other quotes initially seemed quite profound, but finally impressed me as more obscure than anything else. What they mostly suggested was hazy (vs. rigorous) thinking. In fact, I found one quote that pointedly “exposed” their dubious thought process: “While many people are trying to be in tune with [the] … [Read more...] about Contemplating Infinity: 6 Sets of Illuminating Quotes
The post-mortem is not complete. Causes for the triumph of the Republicans on November 8, 2016, are still a hot subject for debate. I have trouble speaking or writing the name of the ostensible victor, so I shall call him “The Joker.” Evil Clowns and Fools have an interesting place in history and literature. Steven King’s “It” is a great fictional example; Wyndam Earle, from Twin Peaks, is another. In real life, the serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s social avatar was Pogo the Clown; he performed at children’s parties. Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker in the Batman movie of 2008 is iconic. The titular head of the USA has orange hair, a vitriolic expression, and mangled grammar. We don’t really know what he’s done, but it seems bad, very bad, as he would say. He is not singularly evil, like Voldemort or Sauron, Richard III or “BOB” from Twin Peaks, but clownishly so. In homage to … [Read more...] about Trump’s So-Called Victory