Author Archive | Stephanie Book Koehler


Social Workers and Post-Traumatic Stress

The phenomenon of being traumatized by hearing about traumatic experiences is known as Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder. Social workers are among the first responders to traumatic events including 9-11, Hurricane Katrina and sexual assault. A recent study found that repeatedly hearing the stories of trauma victims doubles the risk of social workers themselves experiencing Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Reports Brian Bride, a researcher in the University of Georgia School of Social Work, “Social workers may hear about burnout and they may hear about self care. But they’re not hearing about Secondary…
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Trusting Your Gut

That little voice that nudges you when you’re stuck between two choices? It’s real. The human body has two brains, one in our skulls and one hidden but powerful brain in the gut known as the enteric nervous system. The gut has 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and is so extensive that some scientists have nicknamed it our “second brain”. “The system is way too complicated to have evolved only to make sure things move out of your colon,” says Emeran Mayer of UCLA. For example, scientists were surpised…
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Neurofeedback Greatly Improves Sobriety Rates

In a UCLA study conducted at Cri-Help in Burbank, CA, those receiving EEG Neurofeedback stayed significantly longer in treatment and had higher abstinence rates. Working with heroin, crack/cocaine and methamphetamine addicts and alcoholics, both men and women, 77% of the people who received Neurofeedback were abstinent at 12 months, compared to 44% for the control. Success was determined by length of time in treatment as well as by abstinence one year after termination of treatment. Time in treatment is one of the best predictors of remaining abstinent. Length of stay…
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Botox and Your Relationships

Your facial expression tells the world what you are thinking and feeling, but it also affects your ability to understand language related to emotions. A new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used Botox to test how the inability to make facial expressions affects emotional centers in the brain. Botox is a powerful nerve poison used to deactivate facial muscles. Subjects were asked to read sentences that expressed anger, sadness and happiness. Subject had no problems understanding the happy sentences, but took more time to read the angry…
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Want a Better Memory? Take a Break

We’ve had proof for a long time that our memories are boosted during sleep. New evidence suggests that memories are also strengthened during periods of rest while we are awake. “Taking a coffee break after class can actually help you retain that information you just learned”, says Lila Davachi, a researcher at New York University. “Your brain wants you to tune out other tasks so you can tune in to what you just learned.” The study focused on memory consolidation, the period when a memory is stabilized after it is…
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Female/Male Brain Differences

Some folks say that there are two kinds of people: those who divide us into two kinds of people and those who don’t. So what about our brains: are there male brains and female brains? Further research will likely change what we know today, but this is our current knowledge: Total brain size: Male brains weigh about 11% more than females’. This is necessary because men’s larger muscle mass and body size require more neurons to control them. This does not suggest that men are smarter than women. Cell numbers:…
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