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Stress, Portrait of a Killer

The stress response: in the beginning it saved our lives, making us run from predators and enabling us to take down prey. Today, human beings are turning on the same life-saving physical reaction to cope with 30-year mortgages, $4 a gallon gasoline, final exams, difficult bosses and even traffic jams — we can’t seem to turn it off. So, we’re constantly marinating in corrosive hormones triggered by the stress response.

Now, scientists are showing just how measurable — and dangerous — prolonged exposure to stress can be. Stanford University neurobiologist, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient, and renowned author Robert Sapolsky reveals new answers to why and how chronic stress is threatening our lives in Killer Stress, a National Geographic Special. The hour-long co-production of National Geographic Television and Stanford University was produced exclusively for public television.

In this revelatory film, discoveries occur in an extraordinary range of places, from baboon troops on the plains of East Africa to the office cubes of government bureaucrats in London to neuroscience labs at the nation’s leading research universities. Groundbreaking research reveals surprising facts about the impact of stress on our bodies: how it can shrink our brains, add fat to our bellies and even unravel our chromosomes. Understanding how stress works can help us figure out ways to combat it and mitigate negative impacts on our health.

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  1. Must we try to immulate and compare baboons to humans in everything. I can see medicine, but stress. We have to study stress in the city and its causes and promote relaxation. Everything is so measured these days even happiness. You can’t put happiness in a bottle and measure it.

  2. Hierarchy ain’t got nothing to do with stress levels, but certainly less money could equal more stress. And people with money and an easy life have higher depression. There’s stress wherever you are. Trips to the country reduces stress.

  3. Very interesting love it!! Awesome documentary…

  4. The quesition is: HOW do we transform our society?

  5. Very good really. It shows deadly effects of stress + causes and basically that an attitude change is needed and more social interaction ncessary. 10/10.

  6. Well done Doc!

  7. Wouldn’t people in high ranking positions be under more stress, such as the CEO of GM, since they have so much responsibility and so many people’s livelihoods riding on their performance?

  8. do that make me a killer?

  9. do that make me a killer?

  10. do that make me a killer?

  11. I like this one on stress since I find myself continuously stressed.It is an awakening for me to slow down and relax,  Relax, and laugh more and not be so serious all the time. Thanks for sharing this Documentary to us on the lower ranks when in all reality I am on the higher ranks of my life. Again Thank you so much.   Trish

  12. I like this one on stress since I find myself continuously stressed.It is an awakening for me to slow down and relax,  Relax, and laugh more and not be so serious all the time. Thanks for sharing this Documentary to us on the lower ranks when in all reality I am on the higher ranks of my life. Again Thank you so much.   Trish

  13. interesting to show causes, but didnt offer anything much on dealing with stress.

  14. An important documentary!

  15. An important documentary!

  16. now im stressed about being stressed 🙁

  17. Fantastic documentary  this society is sick .

  18. Fantastic documentary  this society is sick .

  19. Really great Doc , a must watch it, thanks for posting it 🙂

  20. Loved this Doc. The establishment of Meritocracies through the expansion of Western Capitalism has brought about a strange Paradox…although the standard of living of the lower classes has increased, the stress levels have risen giving rise to new disease paradigms

    .In todays lower classes, comparisons are made with their peers of today rather then  with their peers of the past creating a general sense of unease and a nervous stress response that is shortening their life spans.
    Interesting that in the end this can be halted by how the lower classes interpret their position and how much control they perceive to have in their environment.Enjoyed this thoroughly.

  21. Loved this Doc. The establishment of Meritocracies through the expansion of Western Capitalism has brought about a strange Paradox…although the standard of living of the lower classes has increased, the stress levels have risen giving rise to new disease paradigms

    .In todays lower classes, comparisons are made with their peers of today rather then  with their peers of the past creating a general sense of unease and a nervous stress response that is shortening their life spans.
    Interesting that in the end this can be halted by how the lower classes interpret their position and how much control they perceive to have in their environment.Enjoyed this thoroughly.

  22. Indicative of life as we live it:( are we smart enough to learn from Apes?I got so much from this doc:)