Monday, October 4, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Have a great summer until then!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Reporting earlier this summer in the journal Science, Nuno Sousa of the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute at the University of Minho in Portugal and his colleagues described experiments in which chronically stressed rats lost their elastic rat cunning and instead fell back on familiar routines and rote responses, like compulsively pressing a bar for food pellets they had no intention of eating.
Moreover, the rats’ behavioral perturbations were reflected by a pair of complementary changes in their underlying neural circuitry. On the one hand, regions of the brain associated with executive decision-making and goal-directed behaviors had shriveled, while, conversely, brain sectors linked to habit formation had bloomed.
In other words, the rodents were now cognitively predisposed to keep doing the same things over and over, to run laps in the same dead-ended rat race rather than seek a pipeline to greener sewers. “Behaviors become habitual faster in stressed animals than in the controls, and worse, the stressed animals can’t shift back to goal-directed behaviors when that would be the better approach,” Dr. Sousa said. “I call this a vicious circle.”
Robert Sapolsky, a neurobiologist who studies stress at Stanford University School of Medicine, said, “This is a great model for understanding why we end up in a rut, and then dig ourselves deeper and deeper into that rut.”
Makes one want to get out of the rat race. Hopefully those Portuguese rats are living stress-free these days. The article ends with sound advice for rodents and humans:
It’s still August. Time to relax, rewind and remodel the brain.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
For wonderful acupuncture, see http://www.barefootclinic.com
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Gayle MacDonald is a massage therapist bringing the massage and medical far worlds greatly closer with her passion for massage and deep understanding of the many needs of people with cancer. Her book Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer, is the bible for any therapist interested in oncology massage training and she also offers intensive training programs which include hospital supervision. Medicine Hands is also a superb resource for people facing cancer and their family members. Reading the book, I wanted to jump on a plane and study with her immediately. Maybe someday... but for now I plan to study with one of her former students and leader in this field on her own right, Tracy Walton, who is more conveniently for me located on the East Coast.
U.S. News and World Report writes last month about a positive study on massage with advanced cancer patients here. The outcomes find that massage did reduce pain compared with the control group in the short term. Massage (by therapists trained in oncology procedures) was compared to simple touch, which probably has wonderful benefits on its own, especially for people suffering physically and emotionally from disease. I don't know if the majority of massage schools will include oncology training soon, but if they do, I hope they strive for the quality and scientific thoroughness of Macdonald's and Walton's instruction.