Stress, Portrait of a Killer

57 minutes 8.6/10 based on 14 votes

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.

Released in 2008. 56 min. Director: John Heminway. TV documentary.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • VideoEyes

    Stress clearly, on a daily, hourly, minute by minute basys is bad for your mental and physical Health.^V^! Stay Well..

    Man in computer stress

  • Suto

    This was an informative documentary; but it did look at a lot it’s “evidence/data” rather subjectively. But I would like to congratulate Robert Sapolsky on his work, as his research is looking to have a positive effect on society, even if he his rather leading his research towards a particular goal.
    Worth a watch, if you can spare an hour out of your busy, stressful schedule.

  • McFurious

    So I guess the big message here is if we want to live in a much better and less stressful world, we need to kill off all the assholes.

  • Ms Enigmatic

    Great summation McFurious…less assholes the better

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