This is the title of an article published by Melissa Healy of the Los Angeles Times. In this article, she follows 20 medical students as they prepare to take broad exams. Ofcourse, they're all stressed and perfect for an MRI scan to measure blood flow in the brain as they performed several tasks. New York's Weill Medical College at Cornell and Rockefeller University researchers conducted a study between the medical students and a group of non-stressed students around the same age. Researchers gave the groups two tasks to see where the attention shifted.
To no one's surprise, the non-stressed subjects out performed the stressed medical students. In the attention shifting exercise, the medical students brain function that conducts attention, task-handling and judgment, known as the frontal cortices, had an obvious low performance to that of the non-stressed. The connectivity throughout the other parts of the brain were low as well. After a month since exams ended for the medical students, they repeated the same tasks asked of them before and resulted relatively the same as the non-stressed subjects.
I enjoyed Melissa's article about stress and I felt connected to the medical students as they endured the tasks with the thought of exams embedded on the brain. As a college student, I can fully understand the weight of having several of assignments to accomplish and having to do something else one on top of the other. I thought the idea of medical students was a unique angle to examine stress through and it shows Melissa's creativity and ability to think outside the box. Even though I really enjoyed her angle, I would have investigated several different type of students just out of curiousity to know what the research would have shown. Other than that, I feel Melissa did an excellent job writing the story and exposing readers to what stress looks like under medical observation. Check out Melissa's story at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/06/AR2009020603146.html