First posted 9/5/11 on Health Populi
Home foreclosures negatively influence health in several dimensions: they cause stress on the lives of the home’s residents, including children, driving mental and physical illness; they impact neighbors who worry that home values will fall in their community; and, they can motivate unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking and foregoing medical treatment such as seeing the doctor and filling needed prescriptions for drugs treating chronic conditions.
Continue reading “Connecting the Dots Between Personal Fiscal Health and Personal Health”
First posted 8/11/11 on The Doctor Weighs In
The other day we watched President Obama on TV and were struck by how quickly all recent presidents turn gray-haired during their tenure in the White House. If there is a convincing proof of the toll this horrendous stress takes on the body –this must be it.
So what does science tell us about stress at the top?
Can alpha male baboons teach us about their human cousins?
In a paper published in Science (15 July, 2011) Gesquiere and his colleagues describe a remarkable experiment: They collected the feces of baboons in a population living in a national park in Kenya, and analyzed each individual’s fecal cortisol concentration. If this doesn’t impress you, here is more. They studied five troops of baboons for 9 years, with an average of ∼40 individuals per rank, and more than 4500 samples for hormone analysis. In some cases there were even longitudinal data from the same individual before and after a shift between the alpha and beta ranks. I find this diligence in data collection amazing. And think about the baboons, observing their poop being scooped up by two legged creatures day in and day out. They must have concluded that this strange species is feeding on it.
Continue reading “It Is Lonely (and Stressful) At The Top”
First published 6/22/11 on The Doctor Weighs In
“Everybody knows” that living in the city with overcrowding, high pressure and anxiety-provoking situations is bound to affect you somehow, and not in a good way. But is it a fact? We don’t know. What “everybody knows” is likely to be wrong, and Intuition is no science.
Physicians practicing in inner city settings know from experience that a large proportion of their patients suffer from chronic anxiety and mental illness. But this, too, does not amount to science.
Continue reading “How City Living Affects The Brain”