The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan uses happiness as a measure of prosperity. What makes people happy? And how does happiness impact health? Those are some of the questions we put to our studio guest. Also on the show: When a concussion becomes a serious health risk, the dos and don'ts of hygiene, and ways of keeping dandruff under control.
Happiness is a matter of biochemistry. The brain releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine or serotonin that play a huge role in our feeling of well-being. The opiate-like endorphins that also induce pleasure are produced during endurance sports, for example. Happiness is closely associated with neural pathways and receptors, and with areas of the brain known as the reward center.
Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, can be caused by a fall, a blow to the skull, or by violent shaking of the head. This can temporarily disrupt the function of nerve cells in the brain. Typical signs range from disorientation to momentary loss of consciousness. Patients with concussions usually recover without special treatment, but the condition needs to be taken seriously.
Food-borne illnesses can be transmitted in the home when food is not properly stored or treated. Or when we don't wash our hands properly. But some other claims related to hygiene belong more in the realm of myths.
Every person has dandruff on their scalp. Normally these clumps of dead skin are small and flake off more or less unnoticed. As the skin renews itself over a period of four weeks, the outermost layer of corneocytes or horn cells are shed. In people with dandruff this process is accelerated. The condition can usually be kept under control with special shampoos.
Patients with partial paralysis can often regain control of their limbs with targeted physiotherapy. Studies show that guided movement therapy can stimulate the brain's learning ability and restore some mobility. However practitioners say that may only work if there are still enough active motor-neural pathways in the spinal cord.