A neuroscientist will speak at Bowdoin about the science of stress and its impact on the brain.

BRUNSWICK – Studying how stress hormones affect the brain could lead to “The End of Stress as We Know It,” according to a book co-authored by neuroscientist Bruce S. McEwen.

McEwen will discuss the science behind stress in Bowdoin College’s Arnold D. Kates Lecture at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 5, in Cleaveland Hall, Room 151, on campus.

McEwen’s area of expertise is the human brain. One focus of his lab’s research is the nature of stress and its physiological effects.

According to McEwen’s book, co-authored with Elizabeth Lasley, stress is a genetic response to dangerous situations, which is designed to protect us.

But instead, stress wears our bodies down so much that our health is compromised, and we become more susceptible to a variety of diseases.

McEwen suggests, however, that through understanding the science of stress and its effects on brain function, it is possible to channel the energy manifested in stress in more positive directions.

McEwen, a neuroscientist and neuroendocrinologist, is the Alfred E. Mirsky Professor and head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University in New York City.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

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