Posts

February 26, 2015

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5:15 PM | The Month In Plagues: Pig MRSA Threat, There’s Probably No Plague On The NYC Subway, And More
Your monthly roundup of infestations, contagions, and controls from around the web: In outbreak news Measles continues to spread in the United States, with more than 150…

February 18, 2015

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7:30 PM | What Happens To Your Body When You're Stressed
Life is full of stressful situations. Whether you’ve stepped in front of a speeding bicycle or are bombing a job interview, here’s the chain reaction that’s triggered. 1. Alarm Signal When you hear, see, or otherwise perceive a threat, nerve signals whisk the message to your brain. 2. Brain Trigger The signals reach the amygdala—a brain region that helps with decision-making and the regulation of emotions. The amygdala in turn alerts the hypothalamus, which […]

February 16, 2015

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2:00 PM | 9 Strategies For Battling Stress
A little stress can be a good thing, but it’s important to keep it under control. These strategies will help you retain your Zen. 1. Bounce Back Some people are naturally resilient, but it’s also a learned skill. Stress inoculation gradually exposes people to stressful situations so they develop calmer reactions. Elizabeth Stanley, a security studies expert from Georgetown University, uses this training to help soldiers prepare for high-stress missions. And a 2014 study from […]
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2:00 PM | Staying Calm When Lives Are at Stake
Over the past year, some of the most harrowing international stories have come from West Africa, the epicenter of an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola. As both local and international medical experts have scrambled to stem the virus’ spread, they’ve also had to balance their own anxieties in an unusually stressful situation. Popular Science asked Alex Kumar, an infectious disease doctor who volunteered with the British Red Cross in Sierra Leone, how he handled the […]
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2:00 PM | If It Feels Like Stress Is Killing You, That's Because It Might Be
Chronic stress stems from many circumstances, such as poverty, a bad marriage, or long-term ailments. Its repercussions—elevated cortisol levels and inflammation—can wear us out, from the cellular level on up to our major biological systems. Nervous System The brain changes in response to experiences and the environment. This is especially true in childhood, when key structures—such as the amygdala, involved in the fight-or-flight center—develop. Extreme childhood […]
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2:00 PM | When There's Nothing Left To Do But Crack A Cancer Joke
Comedian Tig Notaro had a famously stressful year in 2012. Within months, she got pneumonia, Clostridium difficile (an intestinal infection spurred by antibiotic use), went through a breakup, her mom died unexpectedly, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It doesn’t exactly sound like comedy gold. But even before the shock had worn off, Notaro was airing her woes on a stage in Los Angeles. The now-legendary set killed. Popular Science recently caught up with Notaro to talk about […]
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2:00 PM | Not All Stress Monitors Are Created Equal [Review]
There are gadgets to measure everything, from what we eat to how many steps we take—and now, a new breed of devices claims to monitor stress. I tested three over the course of a week that included pulse-quickening deadlines, public speaking, and both a computer and smartphone malfunction, as well as more soothing activities such as curling up on the couch on a rainy Saturday and getting a mid-week massage (hey, it was for work). My conclusion? Not all stress monitors are created […]
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2:00 PM | In Space, No One Can Hear You Stress
The daily grind can be stressful enough, but what happens when you move it to low Earth orbit, 268 miles above the planet’s surface? To find out, Popular Science caught up with veteran NASA astronaut and space medicine specialist Michael Barratt, whose resume includes stints with the Mir Program and the International Space Station. Occupational stress, it turns out, is pretty similar out in space. That is, so long as you don’t think too hard about the finicky robotic arms, […]
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2:00 PM | How Stressed Are You? [Quiz]
Afraid of needles? Pick up a pencil. In addition to drawing blood to check for stress markers, scientists craft quizzes to reveal whether you’re feeling harmful stress. This one was adapted from the Perceived Stress Scale by Sheldon Cohen, a psychoneuroimmunologist at Carnegie Mellon University. This quiz was originally published as part of the "Science Of Stress" feature in the March 2015 issue of Popular Science. To find out more about stress--including how to beat it--check out […]
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2:00 PM | Why Are Some People Better At Dealing With Stress?
Some people recover from trauma and tragedy more quickly than others—for example, around a quarter of war veterans develop post-traumatic stress disorder, while many of their peers who saw similar violence do not. Researchers are still trying to unravel why, but the answer may be partly embedded in our cells. Neuroscientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have shown that mice especially resilient to stress have increased levels of a protein called beta-catenin, which […]

February 09, 2015

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2:36 PM | Tuberculosis: Exclusive Clips From “The Forgotten Plague”
Measles and Ebola have dominated the headlines in recent weeks, but there are plenty of other infectious diseases lurking among us. One is tuberculosis, which, in various…

February 02, 2015

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3:10 PM | The Birth Of The Bed Bug
The bed bug may seem like a recent trend. Even if you haven’t personally suffered an infestation, media coverage of the insect’s comeback has been hard to miss. In truth,…

January 30, 2015

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2:30 PM | The Month In Plague: Measles In Disneyland, Guinea Worm Eradication, And More
Your monthly roundup of infestations, contagions, and controls from around the web: In outbreak news A measles outbreak at Disneyland has now infected a reported 100 people in several US states—mostly California—as well as in Mexico. Some experts say the spread is directly related to the anti-vaccine movement, although others point out that it’s a little more complicated. And Vox has a great piece explaining the nuances of recent measles outbreaks across the […]
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