“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: Stress and Health” by Dr. Robert Sapolsky

Science writer, biologist, neuroscientist, and stress expert Dr. Robert Sapolsky presents the inaugural Fenton-Rhodes Lecture on Proactve Wellness.

Sapolsky states that our bodies’ stress response evolved to help us get out of short-term physical emergencies – if a lion is chasing you, you run. But such reactions, he points out, compromise long-term physical health in favor of immediate self-preservation. Unfortunately, when confronted with purely psychological stressors, such as troubleshooting the fax machine, modern humans turn on the same stress response. “If you turn it on for too long,” notes Sapolsky, “you get sick.” Sapolsky regards this sobering news with characteristic good humor, finding hope in “our own capacity to prevent some of these problems… in the small steps with which we live our everyday lives.”

This lecture was recorded on September 22, 2016 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ Colwell Playhouse as part of the Pygmalion TechFest

Rats, Lice and History

When Rats, Lice and History appeared in 1935, Hans Zinsser was a highly regarded Harvard biologist who had never written about historical events. Although he had published under a pseudonym, virtually all of his previous writings had dealt with infections and immunity and had appeared either in medical and scientific journals or in book format. Today he is best remembered as the author of Rats, Lice, and History, which gone through multiple editions and remains a masterpiece of science writing for a general readership.

To Zinsser, scientific research was high adventure and the investigation of infectious disease, a field of battle. Yet at the same time he maintained a love of literature and philosophy. His goal in Rats, Lice and History was to bring science, philosophy, and literature together to establish the importance of disease, and especially epidemic infectious disease, as a major force in human affairs. Zinsser cast his work as the “biography” of a disease. In his view, infectious disease simply represented an attempt of a living organism to survive. From a human perspective, an invading pathogen was abnormal; from the perspective of the pathogen it was perfectly normal.

This book is devoted to a discussion of the biology of typhus and history of typhus fever in human affairs. Zinsser begins by pointing out that the louse was the constant companion of human beings. Under certain conditions–to wash or to change clothing–lice proliferated. The typhus pathogen was transmitted by rat fleas to human beings, who then transmitted it to other humans and in some strains from human to human.

Rats, Lice and History is a tour de force. It combines Zinsser’s expertise in biology with his broad knowledge of the humanities

Stress: Portrait of a Killer

Over the last three decades, science has been advancing our understanding of stress—how it impacts our bodies and how our social standing can make us more or less susceptible. From baboon troops on the plains of Africa, to neuroscience labs at Stanford University, scientists are revealing just how lethal stress can be. Research tells us that the impact of stress can be found deep within us, shrinking our brains, adding fat to our bellies, even unraveling our chromosomes. Understanding how stress works can help us figure out ways to combat it and how to live a life free of the tyranny of this contemporary plague. In Stress: Portrait of a Killer, scientific discoveries in the field and in the lab prove that stress is not just a state of mind, but something measurable and dangerous.

 

Bonus Feature: Fact File: Everyday Stress Relievers.

When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection

Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there such a thing as a “”cancer personality””? Drawing on scientific research and the author’s decades of experience as a practicing physician, this book provides answers to these and other important questions about the effect of the mind-body link on illness and health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

  • Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, and multiple sclerosis
  • Draws on medical research and the author’s clinical experience as a family physician
  • Includes The Seven A’s of Healing-principles of healing and the prevention of illness from hidden stress

Shares dozens of enlightening case studies and stories, including those of people such as Lou Gehrig (ALS), Betty Ford (breast cancer), Ronald Reagan (Alzheimer’s), Gilda Radner (ovarian cancer), and Lance Armstrong (testicular cancer)

An international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, When the Body Says No promotes learning and healing, providing transformative insights into how disease can be the body’s way of saying no to what the mind cannot or will not acknowledge.