December 20, 2011 at 9:59 am (Global Events, Health and wellness, News and politics)
Tags: Anxiety, depression, distress, Employment, hurry-worry, job, procrastination, psychosomatic, stress, work
Vitals – Watch it! Your job may give you a stroke.
Vitals – Watch it! Your job may give you a stroke
December 20, 2011
By Rachael Rettner
Mental stress at work may increase the risk of stroke, a new study says.
The results show that among men in middle and high social classes, those who experienced psychological stress at work were about 1.4 times more likely to have a stroke than others who did not.
All in all, that means about 10 percent of strokes in this group can be attributed to work stress, the researchers said. The rest of the strokes were related to other risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The findings are based on information from nearly 5,000 men ages 40 to 59 living in Copenhagen, whom researchers surveyed in 1970 to 1971 and followed for 30 years (until 2001). The men were given a physical exam and answered questions about their alcohol consumption, smoking habits and if they received treatment for diabetes. Men were not included in the study if they had a history of heart disease or a heart attack.
Researchers asked, “Are you under psychological pressure when performing your work?” and the men responded with “rarely” or “regularly.”
During the study period, 779 men suffered a stroke, and 167 died from one.
The participants were divided into five groups based on social class, which took into account education level and job position.
No link was found between psychological stress at work and men in the two lowest classes.
Among men in the three highest classes, the risk of stroke increased 38 percent among those who reported experiencing stress at work regularly, compared with those who reported it rarely, the researchers said. The risk was most significant for younger men, likely because these men were exposed to work stress for a longer period. (Men who were among the oldest at the start would have retired shortly after the study began.)
It’s not clear why the link was found only for men in higher social classes, according to the study. It may be that high-status jobs come with increased mental stress. Fewer men in the lower classes reported regular psychological work stress, the researchers said.
The study was published in the December issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
September 10, 2011 at 10:38 am (Health and wellness, News and politics)
Tags: Anxiety, bacteria, behavior, brain-gut, connection, emotion, Gut flora, physio-psychological
Permanent Address: The Neuroscience of the Gut
Strange but true: the brain is shaped by bacteria in the digestive tract By Robert Martone | Tuesday, April 19, 2011
People may advise you to listen to your gut instincts: now research suggests that your gut may have more impact on your thoughts than you ever realized. Scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Genome Institute of Singapore led by Sven Pettersson recently reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that normal gut flora, the bacteria that inhabit our intestines, have a significant impact on brain development and subsequent adult behavior.
We human beings may think of ourselves as a highly evolved species of conscious individuals, but we are all far less human than most of us appreciate. Scientists have long recognized that the bacterial cells inhabiting our skin and gut outnumber human cells by ten-to-one. Indeed, Princeton University scientist Bonnie Bassler compared the approximately 30,000 human genes found in the average human to the more than 3 million bacterial genes inhabiting us, concluding that we are at most one percent human. We are only beginning to understand the sort of impact our bacterial passengers have on our daily lives.
Moreover, these bacteria have been implicated in the development of neurological and behavioral disorders. For example, gut bacteria may have an influence on the body’s use of vitamin B6, which in turn has profound effects on the health of nerve and muscle cells. They modulate immune tolerance and, because of this, they may have an influence on autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. They have been shown to influence anxiety-related behavior, although there is controversy regarding whether gut bacteria exacerbate or ameliorate stress related anxiety responses. In autism and other pervasive developmental disorders, there are reports that the specific bacterial species present in the gut are altered and that gastrointestinal problems exacerbate behavioral symptoms. A newly developed biochemical test for autism is based, in part, upon the end products of bacterial metabolism.
But this new study is the first to extensively evaluate the influence of gut bacteria on the biochemistry and development of the brain. The scientists raised mice lacking normal gut microflora, then compared their behavior, brain chemistry and brain development to mice having normal gut bacteria. The microbe-free animals were more active and, in specific behavioral tests, were less anxious than microbe-colonized mice. In one test of anxiety, animals were given the choice of staying in the relative safety of a dark box, or of venturing into a lighted box. Bacteria-free animals spent significantly more time in the light box than their bacterially colonized littermates. Similarly, in another test of anxiety, animals were given the choice of venturing out on an elevated and unprotected bar to explore their environment, or remain in the relative safety of a similar bar protected by enclosing walls. Once again, the microbe-free animals proved themselves bolder than their colonized kin. (Read more)