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Editor's Note

Why stress doesn't just stay in your head

By
10:30am, February 25, 2015

My favorite quote in Nathan Seppa’s story about chronic stress and health belongs to Rosalind Wright, a pulmonologist who studies links between psychological stress and diseases like asthma. Stress, she says, is “not just affecting your head.”

Of course, the brain is where chronic stress starts. But its influences on the body roam far and wide, working insidiously through the neuroendocrine and immune systems, depositing its hazards on the heart, encouraging tumors and discouraging bodily defenses against colds and flu. It’s not surprising that stress chips away at health; as George Bernard Shaw wrote over a century ago, “the sound body is a product of the sound mind.” But Seppa reports new details about how long-lasting stress physicalizes what we

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