"A 'runner's high' describes a sense of well-being during endurance exercise characterized by euphoria and anxiolysis," Siebers et al. write in their April 2021 paper. Source: baranq/Shutterstock Key Points: Endocannabinoids are better candidates than endorphins to explain "runner's high." Running and other aerobic exercise stimulate the endocannabinoid system. Exercise-induced euphoria and post-workout anxiety reduction do not depend on endorphins binding to mu-opioid receptors. For decades, scientists have suspected that endocannabinoids (not endorphins) are the key to experiencing the exercise-induced euphoria and anxiety reduction we colloquially refer to as "runners high." In the mid-2000s, when I was writing The Athlete 's Way , my book's subtitle, " sweat and the biology of bliss ," was inspired by the newly discovered ( Spalding et al., 2003 ; Dietrich & McDaniel, 2004 ) phenomenon of aerobic exercise stimulating the production of an … [Read more...] about “Runner’s High” Depends on Endocannabinoids (Not Endorphins)
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The ability of drug companies like Moderna and Pfizer to bring vaccines to the public in record time builds on the work of an unsung pioneer Maurice Hilleman. Hilleman's work likely saved more lives than that of any person in history. This virologist developed 8 of the 14 vaccines that are widely used today. The fact that Hilleman was overlooked for a Nobel Prize is a sad travesty and exposes the wide gap between achievement and recognition. Hilleman's Scientific Achievement Before Hilleman, there was no reliable procedure for producing vaccines that were both safe and effective. His signature method was to grow the pathogen in the lab and progressively weaken it over many generations by growing it inside chicken eggs. Ultimately, the pathogen became adapted to the avian host and lost its capacity to sicken humans although it still caused an immune reaction that was sufficient to set up a defense against exposure to the original pathogen. Hilleman contributed no fewer … [Read more...] about The Vaccine Is Everything!
Source: CraigBurrows/Shutterstock Many animals are genetically programmed to fear their predators. Mice naturally fear cats; fish naturally fear birds. These fears don't have to be learned, they are inborn—the product of natural selective forces that rewarded such fears in the evolutionary past. Are also humans also naturally disposed to fear certain dangerous animals? It is certainly true that we fear some things more than others—snakes, spiders, rats—but this could be the result of conditioning more than programming. Perhaps we learn to fear snakes and spiders because they bite us and we fear rats because we are taught that they spread disease. Or maybe not. Scientists who study fear conditioning have noticed that it is easier to train humans to fear snakes and spiders than things like friendly dogs and fluffy pillows. This is especially true for children—indeed, some very young children are afraid of these animals before ever encountering or hearing about them. … [Read more...] about Why We Fear