The Stress Concept | Teen Ink

The Stress Concept

June 11, 2014
By Halo-There SILVER, Ravenswood, West Virginia
Halo-There SILVER, Ravenswood, West Virginia
8 articles 1 photo 5 comments

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Life might be unfair, but the coffee is half decent

Have you ever had the feeling of a looming paper due in the next three hours? Or how about when your computer crashes when you’re working on a project? Lost your thumb drive? That...and almost everything else in the world is called stress. What is really stress, you may ask? Stress doesn't have a solid definition, but to put a band around all the information, opinions, thesis', and everything, there are two scientists, a group of scientists in Gottingen, Germany (2009), who said stress should be considered as a seen perception of uncontrolled and unpredicted stimuli, that are psychological and behavioral, even though the reverse is not always true. The psychological response itself does not always indicate stress. The second scientist, Cauchy, who was a botanist in 1842, said that stress, or pressure, is the amount of force for a given unit area. When enough force is applied, the material will bend, and the change is dubbed "Strain". When [strain] is increased and the material goes from [elastic, able to bend and repair] to [plastic, or unable to repair and bend], the material is either going to rupture or break. Many scientists, such as Lichtenthaher (1996), Levitt (1912), and Hans Seyles (1913), have developed or contributed to the concept of stress to prokaryotic cells and organisms.

Plants and their seeds undergo stresses that can affect reproduction and productivity, which, in turn, affects biodiversity and agriculture. Their stressors can include biotic and abiotic factors, I.E. floods, insects, and pathogens. The definition of plant stress differs from animal stress in a fair degree. Lichtenthaher(1996) defined it as any unfavorable condition or substance that affects or blocks a plant's metabolism, growth, or development, while Larcher defined it as changes in physiology that occur when species are exposed to extraordinary unfavorable conditions that need not represent a threat to life but will induce an alarm response. Both scientists agree that stress is when the condition of the organism is changed, internal or external.

An example to this conclusion to these theisis' is the Seed Cycle with the Eustress-Distress Concept (EDC). The EDC deals with the "hardening" or adaptations of plants and their stressors, or environmental stimulations that force the plant/seed to adapt and change. First, we start with seed maturation, or the preparation stage for the seed for harsh conditions. Some seeds, not all, go through this stage. Next, we go to the dormancy, or the period in which some seeds lie dormant for weeks to years until favorable conditions arise for the seed to germinate. Some scientists say that this is a genetically programmed "resistance stage". Normally this stage is triggered by fluctuation of Abscisic acid (ABA), Gibberellin acid (GA), and dormancy-breaking environmental factors (D-BE factors are stress factors, such as extreme temptures and floods) change to unfavorable. Lastly, we go to germination, which is when the seed begins taking up water and is done with the radicle protrudes and cell division begins. Rapid ambition can lead to germination stress during the transition from ridge gel to liquid crystalline cell structure, because it may cause leaks (in which case a full rehydration, there is little to no damage to the cells, but for older and fragile seeds, can lead to death of the cell and plant). So to conclude on this section, Stress in plants is mainly prolonged exposure to stresses (floods, dry periods, and etcetera) and if too much stress accumulates into the plant's cell, it could lead to cell and plant death, which in turn affects biodiversity and agriculture of the world.

Stress in animals is slightly different from plants, but the definition is still argued among by biologists, psychologists, and scientists. The term is characterized by either the absence of a [predictable] response or [uncontrolled] necroecdrine reaction. In 2009, a group of scientists in Gottengen, Germany said that stress (as in the introduction of this essay) should be considered as a seen perception of uncontrolled and unpredicted stimuli, that are psychological and behavioral. What does that really mean? Weiss, an author back in 1972, using a stress paradigm, stated that it's not physical nature of the stimulus (such as the stomach acid eroding the lining of the stomach), but the predictability and control of that stimuli. Although it seems highly logical, what the author is saying, two problems arise from that thesis. Number one, there's evidence in human lit. That it's not the actual control itself, but the preserved control of the stimulus. That organism may have all or most control of that stimulus, but thinks that it has little to none. Number two, control and predictions of the stimulations are generally defined as binary factors. De Boer Et Al (1990) designed an experiment to test the hypothesis of this. He took Jugular-vein cannulated rats (or rats that had a jugular vein cannula permanently implanted in their necks) and had them push levers that delivered treats/food. He then, after having experienced (rats who knew about the levers) and naive (rats who didn't know about them) push the levers again, but the levers didn't give food to either rats. The experienced rats began to release something called plasma adrenaline once they knew they weren't getting any food from the levers they learned and relied on. From that, the scientists drew three main conclusions from that experiment. The first one is that organisms mentally prepare themselves for an outcome that they expect. (The rats prepared themselves for the food) The second is that the downward slope, rather than the peak of the recovery to baseline, should be measured to disassociate controlled and uncontrolled stimuli. The last is that organisms' adrenaline, plasma to be specific, is associated with the uncontrolled stimuli.
Stress is actually separated into three main stages, and each stage is almost equally important to the last. Alarm is the first stage, in which the organism recognizes the stimuli and adapts temporarily to it. For example, if the room you’re in currently would suddenly drop in temptures, let's say, around forty degrees Fahrenheit, which would put the room in a 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit. You would suddenly notice the cold, and want to get warm. That's the first stage of stress. Resistance is the second stage, in which the organism is either adapting or the stimuli is adding. The body's repair and defense is working at its peak level. The room again, is dropping another ten your body begins to shiver, and you begin to plan to get this fixed. Maybe yell at someone to make you feel a little better. The last stage is exhaustion, in which the body's repair and protection fails, and cells begin to die. If enough die, the organism dies along too. Just like you locked yourself in your cold, little room, get hypothermia and die...Well, that turned for the worse. Sorry. You should have brought some warmer clothes.

So we’ve learned that stress, in any prokaryote celled organism, doesn't have a solid definition for any scientist, biologist, botanist, florist, or psychologist. They're just going to bicker until everyone gives up and one person thinks their right and everyone is too tired to care anymore. Stress in an animal and plant may be different, but they both fall under the same shade of red. Too much stress ultimately leads to death, good, or bad stress.

The author's comments:
Stress can be good or bad, but there's always too much of a good thing.

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