A new study reported on by the New York Times says that prolonged stress can cause our brains to take on a self-defeating posture and cause serious health problems. According to the journal, Science, a team from the University of Minho in Portugal found that stress caused rats' brains to change. In short hand, their ability to have goals, as in eating or pushing the bar when they wanted a pellet, was replaced by repetitious, autopilot behavior. The good news is that this can be reversed. Humans who show signs of this tendency to almost shut down can relax and thus rejuvenate their cognitive abilities to try new things and by the way improve their blood pressure, heart rate, and fight off diabetes and Alzheimer's disease more effectively. "Rats who had just four weeks of "vacation" were able to innovate, discriminate, and lay off the food bar."