The Strange Tale of Phineas Gage


Phineas Gage began the day of September 13, 1848 as a man remarkable only to those who knew him personally. He worked as the foreman of a railway construction gang in Vermont, where his group was preparing the bed for the Rutland and Burlington Rail Road. At just twenty-six years old, Gage was already a […]

Hans Selye: The Discovery of Stress


G.A.S. Spells Stress As with so many wondrous discoveries of science and medicine, it was by chance that Hungarian-born Hans Selye (1907-1982) stumbled upon the idea of the General Adaptation Syndrome (G.A.S.), which he first wrote about in the British journal Nature in the summer of 1936. The G.A.S., alternately known as the stress syndrome, […]

Depressed Like You: The Myth of Teen Angst

From a distance depression can seem like no big deal. After all, who doesn’t feel a little down in the dumps sometimes? But depression in America is a big deal and it’s projected to become an even bigger and more serious issue in the next two decades. The World Health Organization believes depression will be […]

An Active Anguish

“There is nothing good to be said for it except that it gives you the experience of how it must be to be old, to be old and sick, to be dying; to be slow of mind; to be lacking in grace, polish, and coordination; to be ugly; to have no belief in the possibilities […]

“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”

Dr. Robert Sapolsky is a Professor of Neurology at Stanford University. Dr.Sapolsky Spoke at the Brain Connection to Education Spring Conference 2000. If Robert Sapolsky wasn’t a bit of a comedian as well as a celebrated neuroscientist, he may have had his audience clenching their teeth rather than bursting into fits of laughter. For his […]

Afraid to Leave Mom: Separation Anxiety in Children

Many children eagerly enter their first classroom excited and a little nervous. It is perfectly natural, after all, to feel jittery when confronting something so new as school. But some children come bearing more than a normal amount of trepidation; some, in fact, are deathly afraid of saying good bye to their mothers. “I had […]

Stress: Interference to Learning

Taking a final exam can be a stressful experience for any student. As the moment arrives when the tests are handed out and procrastination is no longer an option, nervous attentiveness and the flushed pallor that accompanies an increased heart rate can clearly be observed in some students. How do stress and anxiety affect a […]

Tests + Stress = Problems For Students


Intensive standardized testing not only causes stress in students, but may undermine learning. Anecdotal reports from educators, combined with a surge in prescriptions for such medications as Ritalin and Prozac, suggest that students are experiencing increased stress in the classroom. At the root of the problem, some researchers suggest, are schools that primarily rank students […]