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The Brain in the Body

When talking about athletes, it is common to praise their short memories: a great quarterback, for example, will instantly forget an interception so he can go right back out and throw a touchdown pass. We know why this is important in sport, but we don’t know why physiologically this is important. However, Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have reported finding the neural networks that connect the brain directly to the adrenal medulla, which is near the kidneys and is responsible for “the body’s rapid response in stressful situations.” The study showed that the areas of the cerebral cortex “that are active when we sense conflict, or are aware that we have made an error, are a source of influence over the adrenal medulla. ‘This observation,’ said Dr. Strick, ‘raises the possibility that activity in these cortical areas when you re-imagine an error, or beat yourself up over a mistake,…

Too much exercise?

A new study reports that, despite changing the structure of the heart, “chronic right ventricular damage in elite endurance master athletes with lifelong high training volumes seems to be unlikely,” as reported in The New York Times. Interesting, since A-fib has seemed to have a markedly higher incidence among endurance athletes training at high volume. In fact, I know of at least one lifelong endurance athlete, a widely respected physician and longevity researcher, who switched to strength training specifically because his concerns over A-fib.