Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Misery Index

Low social status seems to activate genes associated with inflammation and the production of various immune-related cells and chemical signalling factors — sounds like low-level chronic stress to me.  It affects the responsiveness of the body to the glucocorticoids (stress) hormones.  Just from a blood test, scientists were able to predict the social status within 80% accuracy. Especially noteworthy is the discovery that all this stems from epigenetics.  From the print edition of The Economist, Apr 14th 2012:

Social status and health:Misery index

Low social status is bad for your health. Biologists are starting to understand why

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April 21, 2012 Posted by | behaviour, genes, health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Chronic stress kills

So it’s not stress itself that hastens your body’s deterioration, but chronic stress — the kind of stress that comes from lack of control (whether it be from low social standing or menial job with bad boss).  Which brings me back to the idea that religion is meant to be a  reliever of chronic stress mainly because it adds partial control (as in praying to change whatever you cannot change yourself).  A vaccine against chronic stress might be much nicer and would help those poor atheists too. 🙂 Until that happens, there is a bunch of things you can do to relieve stress — check out the list at the end of the article.  (It does not mention praying.)

Anyway, here is the article from the August 2010 Wired magazine:

Under Pressure: The Search for a Stress Vaccine

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October 14, 2010 Posted by | anthropology, behaviour | , , , | Leave a comment