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BBC – Future – Why stress is dangerous

In November 2017, two eye surgeons from a hospital in Beirut reported an intriguing case of visual loss in a colleague. A specialist in the retina, the colleague has suddenly developed a patch of blurry vision in one eye just a day or two after an intense stressful day in the operating room. This was not the first time it had happened. The surgeon had experienced four episodes in just a year, each preceded by a stressful day of operating.

The retinal surgeon was diagnosed with central serous chorioretinopathy (CSCR). A small amount of fluid has been collected beneath a tiny region of his retina, causing it to become temporarily detached. The condition resolved after a few weeks, and a strict stress management plan.

First described in 1

866, CSCR has been tentatively linked to stress ever since World War Two. Although subsequent research is associated with stress-related mechanistic pathways, it is often labeled "idiopathic" (arising from an unknown cause). Departing from convention, the surgeons labeled the "Operating Room CSCR" as stressing as its cause.

Reflecting on what has been made known of what a surgeon is able to do. While this progress has expanded the scope of surgery, operating at the limits placed on the surgeon.

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In 1959, pundit Peter Drucker had a predicted transition into the nature of work 50 years later. He coined a term for this new kind of work, "knowledge work" and anticipated the change would involve a move from physical to mental effort.

The evolution of eye surgery has validated some of the printer's predictions.

The evolving nature of work demands more and more from the mind occupational hazards

An occupational hazards is nowhere near becoming a microcosm of today's global workplace, where the evolving nature of work demands less and less time ,

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of the United Kingdom, 57% of all "sick days" in 2017/2018. The mind's rising leverage over productivity is prompting interest in what might be impeding its performance. The focus has fallen on stress.

János Hugo Bruno "Hans" Selye a Canadian-Hungarian physician coined the first definition of "stress" in the 1930s. He borrowed the word from 17th Century English physicist Robert Hooke, whose Law of 1658 describes the relationship between physical stress on a material and its consequence, strain. Selye reportedly regretted using the word "stress" rather than "strain," which left with a legacy of some ambiguity.

The stress of being restrained for a few hours is the number of "newborn" brain cells in a part of the rat's brain

19659009] Research since Selye's time has revealed an acute stress reaction. 200 students raises the markers of inflammation in college professors. These processes offer a survival advantage under threat.

The effects of a healthy, acute stress reaction are usually temporary, ceasing when a stressful experience is over, and any lasting effects can sometimes better than we were before. Studies on rats, for instance, found that the number of "newborn" brain cells in a part of the rat's brain, which can correspond to better performance in certain kinds of memory tests. 19659002] Stress that is too frequent, too intense, however, or constantly present puts us under prolonged strain. So-called "non-linear dose-dependent actions" meaning their effects change course with prolonged activity. As a result, chronic stress induces a gradual, persistent shift in psychological and physiological parameters.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the autonomic nervous system – a nerve network controlling involuntary processes such as blood pressure, breathing and digestion – play a pivotal role in orchestrating the acute stress response. During times of fear or anger, sympathetic activity (responsible for the "fight-or-flight" response). If this pattern of activity persists in the absence of stress, however, it can lead to hypertension and other illnesses. Similarly, while temporary emotional reactivity in acute stress disorder [194559008]

Chronic stress is suspected of playing a role in the rising global burden of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and pushes into major depression.

In the first study of his child, Ivanka Savic and colleagues at Sweden's Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University recently compared the brains of people suffering from work-related chronic stress to those of healthy, less stressed counterparts using structural magnetic resonance imaging techniques. They found a difference in regions active in attention allocation, decision-making, memory and emotion processing. In the stressed subjects, the prefrontal cortex appeared thinner, the amygdala appeared thicker and the caudate nucleus was smaller. The thinning in the prefrontal cortex correlated with worse emotion regulation.

A three-month-long stress-rehabilitation program reversed thinning in the prefrontal cortex

To establish that the stress is on the brain; three month long stress rehabilitation program based on cognitive therapy and breathing exercises. The thinning in the prefrontal cortex was reversed. While the study had limitations (there was no "untreated stressed" control group), this reversal at the possibility of chronic stress might have caused the thinning. Other studies have found that the hormone cortisol correlates with much less memory and thinning in parts of the brain, even at a relatively young age.

manifestation of the brain's extraordinary talent of adapting to whatever is demanded of it. In the middle of combat, for example, higher emotional cognitive functions become redundant. Recalibrating The Brain's Baseline State to Increase Efficiency This Way Can Save a Soldier's Life. In the setting of a workplace that relies on focus and complex decision-making, however, compromised emotion regulation and decline in working memory. The change in the brain's structure is maladaptive.

Chronic stress often strikes through a psychosocial route and is influenced by perception. While this makes the empirical study of chronic stress challenging, it also uncovers a potential pathway for managing chronic stress: one's perceptual experience.

One example is the effect of rumination. Replaying the memory of a stressful experience after it is over. This is a stress-free reaction to a stressful reaction to stress. Preventing people from ruminating their blood pressure faster after acute stress. Lynn Clemow at Columbia University Medical Center, using stress management training (based on a cognitive-behavioral group workshop) to effectively lower systolic blood pressure in patients with chronic stress, has been linked to hypertension and in a small randomized trial hypertension. The decline in pressure correlated with a decline in depressive rumination.

The perceptual element of stress may be the reason some mind-body interventions such as yoga, breathing techniques and focused-attention meditation can benefit stress management through effects on improving emotional regulation, reducing stress reactivity and speeding up recovery after stress. It may therefore explain why some techniques search for mixed results in controlled studies. It is possible the technique of mindfulness meditation can invite rumination and repetitive negative thoughts in some individuals but not others. Perceived stress can vary with genetic and epigenetic factors, individual traits, patterns of thought and behavior, and the journey of one's life so far.

Status and control

In some ways, the brain mimics a prediction machine that is actively infers its environment to create a perceived representation of reality. A perception of uncertainty, unpredictability or a lack of control signal is a flaw in its model of reality and promote stress.

A practical demonstration of this theory is moderated by social status. Having a social status may be better.

In a predictable world over which you have perfect control, a cause should lead to a predictable effect. A frequent mismatch between the effort you make and the reward you receive for your effort frustrates this sense of perceived control. Consequently, "effort-reward imbalance" is a source of chronic stress in the workplace. It is associated with a raised blood pressure in Las Vegas hotel room cleaners, with burnout in Buffalo, New York, and with metabolic syndrome in fit, state police workers in Genoa, Italy. Every day is emotionally exhausting and takes a toll on mental performance. In a study on Australian horse jockeys, experiencing high levels of effort-and-reward imbalance during times of intense stress correlated with an impairment in decision-making comparable to that of a blood alcohol concentration of 8%.

It's not just the nature of our social interactions that could exacerbate stress. The impact of some facets of urbanized life on stress may have been underestimated. An apparently "soft" factor like exposure to nature can hasten following stress and lower markers of stress. <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> The release of the melatonin, a hormone that has been shown to reduce anxiety. Low-intensity exercise reduces circulating levels of cortisol, yet the need for frequent movement is often redundant.

Urbanization is increasing and the consumption of processed food and ultra-processed diet has been linked to the incidence of depressive symptoms in at least two large cohorts. Our dietary habits modify the micro-organisms living in the digestive tract and micro-organisms, through cross-talk with immune cells and other routes.

There is some evidence that modulating gut microbiota with specific foods or taking probiotics can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Cognitive performance during stress – but not in the absence of stress.

In a 2015 exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris, Belgian artist Thomas Lerooy presented a perceptive visual metaphor of mental stress in an aptly named "Not enough brain to survive".

Unlike Lerooy's piece, the human head does not expand and sink to the ground as its stress load grows heavier. Mental fatigue after a complex ophthalmic procedure is invisible. The surgeon does not gas for air nor perspire.

Mental strain is a performance-limiting factor in an age where physical load is increasingly transformed into mental load.

Mithu Storoni trained as an eye surgeon and studied diseases affecting the visual brain before writing Stress-proof: The Ultimate Guide to Living a Stress Free Life (Hodder / Yellow Kite).

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