15 Aug 2022


Video Stress: Portrait of A Killer - Full Documentary (2008)

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Academic level: College

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What are the two hormones that Sapolsky calls the "backbones of the stress response"? 

Adrenaline or epinephrine and Glucocorticoids which comes out of the adrenal gland. The adrenaline hormone is important to aid in survival tactics such as running. The hormones regulate the stress response of the body which triggers health issues or illnesses in human. 

What are the differences in stress in dominant versus submissive baboons? What are the effects of this stress? 

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According to salpolsky the dominant baboons have less stress compared to the submissive baboons. The dominate baboons have higher ranks and therefore experiences less stress while the submissive baboons have a lower rank which is linked to higher levels of stress. Submissive monkeys have bad health characterized by high blood pressure, low life expectancy and depression. The brain of the monkeys was similar to those of humans reflecting the fate of dominant and submissive in relation to stress. 

The effect of the stress is a deterioration in health as the submissive experience an increase in heart rate and blood pressure while the dominant experience minimal increase in heart rate and blood pressure. The overall effect is the deterioration in health of the wild primates. 

What did Marmot's Whitehall study discover concerning the link between rank and stress? 

Professor Sir Michael marmot who performed a stress study in humans by following men occupying different positions in the society came to the same conclusions as Salposky. In his study on the relationship between rank and stress, he concluded that the higher the status, the lower the risk of stress related diseases. He found out that men working on low ranks had a higher risk of premature death 

What did Shively's study done on social stress in Winston Salem, NC, on meerkat monkeys discover? 

The study on monkeys showed that placing monkey on different social environment subjects them to stressful interactions and social ranks determines the level of stress. The lower in rank are subjected to threats increasing their stress levels. The study discovered atherosclerosis the thickening of the artery walls and the veins close up. It revealed those ranked in the lower ranks are exposed to immune system problems and inflammations are likely to experience the conditions despite consuming similar food. Improving the social environment improved their health indicating that the social environment determines the type of social interactions threat and stress which affects monkey health. Changes in environment reduces social stress and improves the health of the monkeys. 

5. What is important about the distribution of weight in monkeys that are in different places in the social hierarchy? 

Monkeys in the lower ranks have more weight around their abdomen which also tends to pack itself around the important organs due to stress. Weight distribution in monkeys is important since the position in hierarchy has a direct relationship with stress and diseases. 

6. In Blackburn's study on chronic stress in women, what did she find? What does this have to do with chromosomes (telomeres) and stress? 

The study concluded that psychological stress leads to shorter telomeres which refers to the protective caps on the chromosomes ends which measure cell age and health. The study which focused on women found out that traumatic and chronic stress cause shortening of the telomeres in cells of the immune system. Telomeres protect and stabilize chromosomes. The length of telomeres in the immune system indicate cell aging. Shorter telomeres are related to aging diseases such as cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Therefore when telomere shorten the chromosomes unravel quickly increasing the aging process. 

7. When dissecting rat brains, what did researchers find in examining stressed brains versus non-stressed brains? What area(s) of the brain were affected? 

When dissecting a rat and examining its brain the studies revealed that prolonged stress damages brain cells and facilitate memory loss. Stressed brains in rats were smaller especially in the hippocampus the area related to learning and memory. The non-stressed brains were normal in size and functioning. 

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