Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 2nd 2013 Contents B44
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, November 2, 2013
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Shipping and Brokerage services for over 100 years, is recruiting
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· Ability to clear at all Ports of Entry
· Ability to prepare and process Bonded/Ex-bond Shipments
· Ability to classify goods in accordance with the Customs Act
· A vehicle in good, working condition would be an asset.
Interested persons are kindly asked to submit
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Mrs. Denise Mendes
11 Charles Street
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An intense scare can do more than
elicit a good scream; it can physically
affect the body as the neurological
system releases intense chemicals in
response to a threat.
For most the response to a fright is
more or less harmless, with the body
becoming primed to fight or flight its
way out of a bad situation.
But in extremely rare cases people
have literally been "scared to death"
after a surge of adrenaline and other
chemicals causes the heart to mal-
With Halloween around the corner,
we ve talked to experts in order to
understand exactly what happens
when you suffer a good scare.
Blinded by fear
It turns out you can be so frightened
you can temporarily lose your sight
Dr Martin Samuels, chair of the
department of neurology at Brigham
and Women s Hospital in Boston, said
the reaction is part of the "fight or
flight" response during which the brain
redirects all energy to vital body func-
"You can have severe a fright [that]
can cause any part of your nervous
system to fail," said Samuels. "Why
this happen is related to adrenaline-
like substances, [they go into the]
bloodstream and affect all the organs.
Going white overnight
There s little proof that a good fright
will turn a person s hair white instantly,
but there is a condition that makes it
appear as though you ve gone grey
People who suffer from telogen
effluvium lose older hair follicles rap-
idly. As they lose hair, grey strands
that were hidden and are often newer,
become more prominent, making them
appear grey almost overnight.
Dr Joshua Zeichner, director of Cos-
metic and Clinical Research in Der-
matology at Mount Sinai Medical Cen-
ter in New York, said the hair loss
usually comes three months after a
big emotional event.
"It can be emotionally stressful or
physically stressful, even such as an
infection or surgery," said Zeichner.
"The most common situation is post-
Fortunately the situation is usually
temporary and within about a year
the hair will grow back. Although
Zeichner cautions he "can t guarantee
the hair won t come back grey."
For a worst-case scenario there s
always the hairdresser.
Pale as a ghost
After being scared, a person will
sometimes be described as looking as
"pale as a ghost." But it turns out that
the phrase has evolutionary roots.
When faced with a threat, the body
will instantly start sending blood to
vital organs and muscles to help with
either a potential fight or flight.
"All of your organs are focused one
task and that s to get away," said
Samuels, who points out having a rosy
complexion wasn t important for our
ancestors who were fleeing dangerous
animals. "It happens all automatically.
You re not aware of it."
People who have gone through a
sudden traumatic event often describe
the feeling of time "slowing down"
or moving in "slow motion."
Dr Martin Samuels at Brigham and
Women s Hospital, Boston, said that
the slow motion feeling is part of the
body s "fight or flight"response, where
your brain will only let you focus on
a perceived threat.
As adrenaline and other drugs flood
the system, they can make a person
hyper-focused on the danger.
"It s called a dissociative state," said
Samuels. "It s a kind of hypnosis...
where your nervous system is focused
on one job and everything else is held
Scared to death
In extreme circumstances, you can
even be "scared to death." Doctors say
a terrible fright can result in a massive
surge of adrenaline that stuns the heart
so badly it stops beating.
Dr Holly Anderson, director of edu-
cation and outreach at the Perelman
Heart Institute at New York-Presby-
terian Hospital, remembers one
woman who was with her husband
when he received bad news about his
When the women left the room, she
collapsed in the hallway.
"After I had whisked her off to the
emergency room and hooked her up
to an EKG, I was surprised to see her
whole heart had stopped moving, yet
she had perfect blood supply to the
heart," recalled Anderson, who is also
the director of education and outreach
at the Perelman Heart Institute at New
York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cor-
nell Medical Center. "She was so emo-
tionally overwhelmed about her hus-
band s condition it literally stopped
A good scare
is bad for you
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Doctors say a terrible fright can result in a massive surge of adrenaline that stuns the heart so badly it stops
beating. PHOTO: GOOGLE IMAGES
"You can have severe a fright
that can cause any part of
your nervous system to fail.
Why this happen is related to
they go into the bloodstream
and affect all the organs."
---Dr Martin Samuels
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