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Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Therapies
Stress levels are on the rise in our increasingly busy world. In a 2015 national survey, 24 percent of U.S. adults reported extreme stress, an increase from 18 percent just one year earlier. About one-third reported their stress had increased over the past year; fewer than half as many said it had decreased. The top sources of stress were money, work, and family responsibilities. In this year’s Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Therapies, to be held on September 7, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy will share his perspectives on stress in America. In a conversation with National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins, he will explore the individual- and population-level impact of stress and steps we can take to reduce its effect on our health and our lives. In 2016, Dr. Murthy issued the first-ever Surgeon General’s report on substance abuse, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, which drew attention to alcohol and drug misuse as a major public health challenge for our country. Stress is a known risk factor for substance misuse and for relapse in people who are struggling with addiction. Stress also contributes to a variety of other mental and physical health problems—such as headaches, anxiety, obesity, and heart disease. Stress can worsen health conditions both because of the strain it puts on the body and because people may respond to stress with undesirable behaviors, such as unhealthy eating. Stress may even play a role in pain, perhaps in part because of the overlapping pathways in the brain that interpret emotional and physical pain. Dr. Murthy and Dr. Collins will discuss what research is revealing about not only the ways in which stress affects us, but also the approaches people can incorporate into their lives to help reduce stress, such as regular exercise, social connection, and contemplative practices, including meditation. They will also examine how improvements in mental and emotional well-being can have a positive impact on the lives of individuals and communities and explore how models of successful interventions might be scaled to reach larger communities.
Join us on to find out more about stress and its impact on America’s health. The lecture will also be broadcast live via NIH Videocast and streamed live on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nih.gov and www.facebook.com/nih.nccih. We’ll use #ChatStress and #Straus17 on Twitter. This lecture is made possible with support from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. To learn more, visit: nccih.nih.gov/news/events/lectures/SES17.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins