Our preconceptions of how much pain we can tolerate vary from person to person, but we’ve only just discovered that there is a biological role to play in pain tolerance. According to a recent study,
Highly sensitive individuals had the least grey matter density in the bilateral precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex, posterior parietal cortex, and left primary somatosensory cortex.
This might not mean much at first glance, but its content affects you more than you realize. The density of grey matter, the substance most of the human brain is made of, heavily influences a person’s tolerance for pain.
The study begs the question: Could all the hurt we experienced in the past have been more tolerable had we been someone else? Someone else with more grey matter in their noggin? Do I just give up and submit to the possibility of getting hurt and feeling it more intensely than others? Maybe. But at least you can now justify your pain with science. Good news is possible even in complete disappointment, right?
Now I am not talking about heartbreaks and sensual experiences or anything of that sort; I’m talking good ol’ wrestling hurt. The kind that you get when you step on a nail and it breaks the skin, the kind you experience only when you are drunk and in a shouting match with the bouncer. But most importantly the kind that makes you cringe and say: That’ll hurt in the morning. Yeehah!
It seems that pain tolerance has more to do with your brain’s grey matter than just your overall size and body build. A study was conducted by the lovely people at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., with the help of 116 volunteers, to prove this hypothesis on pain tolerance. The subjects were exposed to light pain while MRI’s were taken of their brain and its activity. It was found that those with a higher grey matter density in areas of the brain associated with internal thoughts and control of attention, were more resistant to pain than those with a lower grey matter density.
I guess the saying men are tougher than women, just does not apply in this instance. Finally people will understand why my girlfriend is so much tougher than me when it comes to actually going to the gym!
So why exactly is this information useful? Well if you consider soldiers, for instance, and what they have to go through in the army, training and battles, we could potentially build a much stronger army and take over the world if we selectively breed and choose our soldiers. But really, there is some research that points to increasing grey matter density through practice and mindfulness meditation. So go for it; increase your pain tolerance and enjoy some meditation while you are at it. Otherwise, Cheers to World Domination!
Isn’t it fun to pretend we have control over our bodies? Isn’t it fun to believe that freewill isn’t some fanciful bit of make-believe? I don’t know about you, but that’s one of my favorite late night drunken fantasies (oh yeah, gettin off (or not) to the illusion of choice). Really though, the bag of chemicals we live in is a precarious balance of hormones, enzymes, and other gook, teetering the high wire of sanity by the tiniest margins. If that statement needs any justification, maybe give PCP a try.
The excretions of other life forms have altered our realities and actions for epochs, so the idea is nothing new. Usually we think, however, that these things are mostly under our control. From licking a toad, contracting the stomach flu, or perhaps a total personality makeover after a blow to the head, our body’s chemicals and fluids determine everything. So, keeping that in mind… there’s a good chance you, at this very moment, have a mind-controlling parasite, making your decisions for you. It happens all the time.
Half of the world’s population is currently infected with a fun-loving little fucker known as Toxoplasma, the sci-fi sounding name of a cat poop dwelling parasite that will make you crazy.
Try saying it out loud. Toxoplasma. You’ll feel pretty badass.
Now look to your left. Look to your right. You have a 50% chance of infection of…Toxoplasma. (You said it out loud, right?)
Come on. You can’t be serious?
We already knew bacteria were controlling our minds, but now there’s this little fella, too. He lives in cat poop, we breathe him in, and he sets up shop in our nervous system, excreting enzymes that lead to schizophrenia and overall bat-shittedness (not necessarily a bad thing). Essentially, I get infected, I get this hankering for another cat, then I get more infected, I adopt the conviction “who needs men?” and before you know it my home soon becomes a den of feline chaos.
It seems that society’s obsession with lolcats is actually all a part of some master plan being orchestrated by this little bastard. It flips our brain’s chemistry to, you guessed it, love cats.
The heated war between dog people and cat people will rage for centuries more, but now we know about all the fuss over our feline friends: we are victims of a cat conspiracy to take over our internet memes, one poop at a time.
Warning: this article should not be read within proximity to sandpaper or pumice rocks as there is a high likelihood of sanding down one’s skin in terror. This one gets gross, kiddies.
One of the many benefits already seen since the inception of the Human Microbiome Project in 2007 is the outrageous discovery that only 10% of our body is human.
What kind of madman rant are you going on this time, Qwizx?
As it turns out, crazy as it may sound, the overwhelming majority of cells within/out our person are bacteria. In fact, we are a staggering 90% non-human. Swimming amidst the estimated 10 trillion cells constituting your selfness are something like 100 trillion individual little critters that call your life-fluids home. In a microscopic landscape of terrain, legions of monsters are swathing, swarming, warring, breeding, breathing and all-out taking over the slabs of meat we self-reference as “I.”
100 trillion is a big number, maybe too large for a human mind to fathom, so instead, let’s imagine it this way: There are currently 7,000,000,000 people in the world (that’s billion, with a B)… There are 14 THOUSAND times that many (our current planetary population) bacteria wiggling inside you this moment, Jacuzzi-ing in your tear-ducts as you read this. When I say bacteria, by the way, I mean these things (thank you, electron microscopes)…
Cluster of E. Coli sipping margaritas by the lake of sulfur in hell, or…
Life always finds a way, just not necessarily humanoid life. A genomic sequencing study has recently discovered high numbers of hydrothermal vent eubacteria on prosthetic hip joints. This wouldn’t be a big deal, considering the plethora of ghouls infesting people, accept hydrothermal vent eubacteria are a species once thought only to live in the blackness of the ocean’s depths(you know, cause surviving on uranium isn’t scary enough).
(below) At Steve’s liver for the weekly orgy and ritual-sacrifice (BYOB)
By no means is this exclusively shiver-inducing news. Like when Copernicus realized the earth revolved around the sun, this is a “discovery,” meaning it was always true, just now it’s news to us. No need for mass panic, cause this is how it’s supposed to work, and always has. However, there are some interesting implications:
Hurray, no more lonely Saturday nights!
Imagine our bodies, now, as a planet onto themselves, where bacteria pay their property taxes, vote, and even take their kids to little league in the small intestine. We humans are not individuals, but a collective, a civilization or a conglomerate, united in a symbiosis where each individual creepy-crawly plays his part on the whole. Sure, just like in human civilizations, there are the equivalent of warring gang factions, and like we always do, these sparse rebels gets all the focus (I’m looking at you, gonorrhea.), but our microscopic brothers and sisters are absolutely essential to our continued existence.
If we’re like a corporation, hell yeah, I get to be the CEO.
Not quite. Sorry. We’re more like the semi-dipshit boss wrapped around his employees’ fingers. The sneaky scallywags just let us think the best ideas are ours so we can save face; the germs are in charge. Through the clever excretion of chemicals, our fuzzy little friends manipulate our lives in almost every conceivable way, from our health to straight up mind-control. However, don’t panic; it’s less like “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers,” and more like the Futurama episode where Fry eats the vending machine egg salad and becomes an Ubber-Fry.
The NIH’s Human Microbiome Project plans on cataloging the entire human microbiome, or metagenome, and thus far only approximately 1% of this microbiota has been characterized and identified. They’ve just begun to peak into the Pandora’s box of possibilities from our neighbors to the nano, so, I don’t know about you, but I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for sensory enhancing super parasites.
By all means, keep washing your hands, but these guys are unavoidable. See that cute fella hiding in the upper-left corner of this close-up of dust (below), the Kraken-lookin spawn of Lucifer posing for a cameo in your nightmares? He’s everywhere.
America, home to hordes of insecure anorexic teens, overly-secure fatties, and wide enough for a plethora of crazy fad-diet trends to render a “Madea Goes Jihad” premier speechless. So anyone not yet convinced they’re fat either hasn’t encountered a magazine, TV, billboard, pop-up ad, mirror or unfiltered reaction from a child in a super-long while, or the rock of self-deception they live under could give Devil’s Tower pause (no offense DT). So when I shell out this ludicrous claim of a bacon beer and edible underwear diet, I totally understand anyone who rolled their eyes and skipped to the next StumbleUpon link, but seeing as you’re eyes are still scrolling, giving me the benefit of the doubt, let’s make it worth your while…
How would you feel about eating honey-glazed 6 lb bricks of gorgonzola cheese stuffed with chocolate mousse while, in the same swallow, dropping weight quicker than your budget’ll permit you to replace your wardrobe? Throw on an extra slab of butter and settle in for a healthier, happier, fitter you…
In 2003-4, when cutting carbs was all the rage with the trendy fitness seekers, Dr. Robert Atkins was something of a messiah, and for good reason. The Atkins diet had, for those with the tenacity to adhere to its stringent formula, boasted nearly a 100% success rate.
Unfortunately, effective as it may have been, the Atkins Diet fell out of vogue shortly after its rise to fame due in large part to expense (Atkins eating cost 80% over an average American diet), and, more so, the bleak future his disciples realizes when it struck them: THEY CAN NEVER HAVE A DOUGHNUT AGAIN!!! Before fading into obscurity, however, he gave us the foundation for what will soon be the cornerstone to changing our lives for the greater.
Now if you’ve ever tried a fad diet and failed, that’s totally fine, though it is demoralizing. 95% of the newly-health-inclined turn back to a steady intake of chicken-fried McDoubles and butter-slathered Doritos within a week. No need to beat yourself up (but don’t be too proud either). While this subject of fat loss is a massive one (yes, it was intended), minus a small few of us with genetic disorders, the failure of our collective willpower, fortunately, can boil down to three simple fixes:
1. Self-control is overrated.
Let’s pull up our sweatpants for a moment, wipe the crumbs from our chinny-chins, and gorge a big guilt-free meal (to the point of bursting). We’re going shopping the smart way, stuffed, thus with utterly no desire to consume a morsel. This way, all the gimmicky flashing lights of the supermarket, the ones strategically positioned for herding cattle as efficiently as possible, will pose far less a threat to our will-power. Haven’t you found it far easier to give a friendly “no thanks” wave to the lady passing out free pizza samples when you have a nauseated gut?
Next, as we’re human, we naturally want to do what requires the least effort, so let’s use that to our advantage; work smarter not harder. To subvert temptation rid yourself of temptations. When carrots and hummus are the sole items in the fridge, despite the supermarket being just next door, guess what we’ll eat?
Finally, and I’m not promoting apathy here, but two consecutive hours of running, while certainly an impressive feat to spam to Twitter, burns a mere 1000 calories (equivalent of a single White Castle chocolate shake). Running is fantastic, but sadly not the super-slimming-strategy it’s generally considered to be. So how are skinny people even a thing if the numbers are so outrageous? …Hold your horses.
2. Metabolisms plateau and rebound even with the most restrained of us.
60% of the success at beginning diets, even among the most persevering maniacs, is water weight. The human body is an absolute marvel of nature, capable of maintaining itself with minimal fluctuation. That means as one adjusts one’s habits, the body kicks whatever mechanism it has to into gear to maintain the status quo. This is why diet/exercise tends to hit a peak. Millions of generations of experience have trained the human body to maintain itself, and if we attempt to alter that balance, either the brain will jump in and override our will with a barrage of chemicals that cripple us with waffle-cravings, or the metabolism will slug-down to compensate for the new regimen; either way, assuring the same level of jiggle is maintained. To win this battle, we’re gonna have to fight dirty and hit ’em with an unexpected blow…
3. Solution: bacon, beer, edible underwear and whatever the hell else we want; as much as we can shove down our face-holes without ripping at the spare-tire.
Never is a terrifying word. I want my candy. I want my soda, my Redbull, beer-battered cod, deep-dish-pizza and the occasional pumpkin-pie binge, so of course the idea of NEVER having these things just for an extra couple years of life is crazy (those years are at the END, anyway). So if that bastard body of mine wants to undermine all my hard effort, let’s hit him where it hurts, right in the calories.
You see, a major reason diets are unsuccessful is not for lack of effort. Many of our hefty friends can see the coronary around the corner and fight the good fight only to drop a single pound after 15 hours on the bike. Instead, because the body is so good at what it does, our efforts to skinny-down are taken as an attack (Brain says, “Oh, shit, I guess we’re starving now”), so the metabolism compensates to keep us where we were, creating a green-eating, marathon-running, still-fat guy. Often the whole process is so discouraging that the dieter will relapse into even less healthy of a lifestyle.
That’s why we fight back, courageously, with the mighty cannon-fodder of junk food. See, strategically consuming garbage kicks the metabolism in the ass enough to throw it off kilter, never quite settling into a steady normalcy. Crazy as it sounds, binging on fatty foods, in the right circumstances, leads to weight loss.
The slow-carb diet (as he calls it) has only 4 simple tenets, no calorie counting or complicated matrices to learn:
1. No white carbs
2. No drinking calories
3. Repeat the same few meals
We receive no royalties from Tim for promoting his book, so how about a quick sample diet (alter to your desires):
Sunday – Friday:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with sautéed spinach, chic-peas and chunky salsa.
Lunch: protein smoothie (raw kale greens, peanut-butter, almond milk, protein powder).
Dinner: ground chuck with mixed vegetables and lentils.
Before bed: 2 glasses of red wine (optional).
3 pints of Ben & Jerry’s, Brick of mozzarella, dozen Kristy Crèmes, an Ultimate Pizza Sandwich, 6 triple quarter-pounders w/ cheese dipped in unprocessed lard, 12 stack of crème cheese-stuffed French toast, 2 babies and a diet coke.
Don’t believe me? Frankly I barely do either, and I’ve lost 40 lbs and counting with this lunacy. So all y’all skeptics check out the following links or just take my word for it and spend your valuable time doing more important things, like liking Wondergressive on Facebook.