from the world's big
In Fed We Trusted
David Wessel is economics editor for The Wall Street Journal and writes the Capital column, a weekly look at the economy and forces shaping living standards around the world. He is responsible for overseeing coverage of the Fed and the Journal’s daily coverage of the macro economy, global trade and economic trends. He appears frequently on National Public Radio.
His book, “In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic,” was published August 4, 2009.
Previously, Mr. Wessel was deputy bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal's Washington bureau. David joined The Wall Street Journal in 1984 in Boston, and moved to Washington in 1987. In 1999 and 2000, he served as the newspaper’s Berlin bureau chief.
He previously worked for the Boston Globe, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant and Middletown (Conn.) Press. A 1975 graduate of Haverford College, he was Knight Bagehot Fellow in Business & Economics Journalism at Columbia University in 1980-81.
David has shared two Pulitzer Prizes, one for Boston Globe stories in 1983 on the persistence of racism in Boston and the other for stories in The Wall Street Journal in 2002 on corporate wrong-doing. He is the co-author, with Wall Street Journal reporter Bob Davis, of Prosperity, a 1998 book on the American middle class.
Question: Did Bernanke’s mantra of “whatever it takes” lead us astray?
David Wessel: I think that a “whatever it takes” approach got us through this crisis but has a number of enormous risks. One of them is that it can justify almost anything. If you don’t have a set of principles that you can explain for what you are doing, then how can anybody know what you’re going to do next? In fact, one of the problems in this crisis was that the rules kept changing. If you were a preferred shareholder at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you got wiped out. But if you were a preferred shareholder at Bear Stearns, you didn’t. If you were a bond holder at Washington Mutual, you got largely wiped out, but if you were a bondholder of AIG you didn’t get wiped out. If you were a bondholder of Lehman Brothers though, you got devastated. And so this kind of shifting the rules of the game makes life kind of difficult.
I think that, in my view, one of the things that Bernanke and Hank Paulson, and Tim Giethner did that, in retrospect was a mistake, was wasting the time after Bear Stearns, which occurred in March, 2008, and not coming up with a more articulated game plan for what they would do if they had to cope with a collapse with another financial institution. Of course one of the biggest criticisms of Mr. Bernanke is that he didn’t do whatever it takes and he let Lehman Brothers fail. He says he didn’t have any other choice under law. We at the Wall Street Journal surveyed four dozen economists on Wall Street and by 3 to 1; they said they didn’t believe him. That had there been a will to save Lehman Brothers, there would have been a way.
I do think that the AIG bailout is one that is getting a lot of scrutiny for exactly the right reasons. And the question really is, was it necessary to pay the counterparties of AIG, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, UBS, the big names of global finance, 100 cents on the dollar in order to protect the financial system? Admittedly, the Fed and the Treasurer were making decisions under a lot of pressure. That was a very busy week in September, 2008. But with the benefit of hindsight, it looks like they did themselves a lot of damage, politically, and it hurt their credibility when it looked like only the big guys, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank and so forth got 100 cents on the Dollar and everybody else has to take a haircut. So, one can understand why they did it, and it’s clear that they did not have enough tools to deal with a collapse of an institution other than a bank. That’s why Bernanke, and Geithner, Paulson, George Bush, and Barack Obama, have all asked Congress to change the rules so that when something like Lehman Brothers, or Bear Stearns, or AIG gets into trouble in the future, the Federal Government will be able to treat them the way it treats a bank. Say, “Okay, you screwed up, you’re mine now, we’ll decide who gets paid and who doesn’t, and we have a system for doing that.” There is no system. There was no system then, there is no system today, a year later, for dealing with an AIG or a Lehman Brothers. So, the tools that the authorities had were unfortunately limited. They weren’t up to the task.
Question: DEAN BAKER, BEAT THE PRESS: How did the Fed fail to see a trillion dollar housing bubble?
David Wessel: I think that when you go back and look at what was going on inside the Fed, there were people who warned that this was a housing bubble. But, they were not convincing and the reigning view at the Fed was, even if it is a bubble, we shouldn’t interfere with it. We should let the markets do their thing and if it bursts, it will be as Bernanke and Paulson said in late 2007 even, it’ll be contained. And they were comforted by the fact that when the tech stock bubble had burst earlier in the 2000’s, it had done a lot of damage to people who had bought a lot of internet stocks, but it hadn’t really done a lot of damage, lasting damage, to the economy. And so they looked at it as they looked at that. So, it was not only a failure of analysis, it was failure of ideology in the best sense, a world view that led them to believe that even if there was a housing bubble, they shouldn’t do anything.
Now, Greenspan went around saying, “You can’t have a national housing bubble. Real estate is local, housing prices are local, you can have froth,” he said, “in some markets.” And it’s very late in the rise in house prices where he kind of throws in the towel and says, “I think we have a big problem.” So, he was just wrong, and because he had been right so often, people kind of believed him.
Question: DEAN BAKER, BEAT THE PRESS: Does this raise questions about the Fed’s competency?
David Wessel: Sure. But who was more competent? The rest of the bank regulators were just as bad. I think as a result of this, we have every right to expect the Fed to be much more thoughtful about asset markets and to be more open and to think about how it can use it’s weaponry to let a little air out of any bubble before it bursts. I think they are not yet convinced they can or should do that, but I think that’s the right debate to have.
I think some of it had to do with the fact that the financial system had evolved and a lot of the mortgages were being made in institutions that were not under the Fed’s jurisdiction. And the Fed, like a lot of bank agencies said, “We’re responsible for this set of people and someone else is responsible for other people and it’s their problem.” But some of these mortgages were made by affiliates of banks, and the Fed could have pushed harder into those affiliates to see what they were doing, but Greenspan didn’t think it was a good idea.
Greenspan says that he was caught by surprise by the surge in sub-prime lending in 2006 and 2007, that when he first saw reports in trade publications that there had been this big increase in sub-prime lending that he didn’t believe the number because he didn’t believe that the situation could change so rapidly and that was something where he just made a bad judgment. When the official numbers came in, it turned out that these earlier reports from mortgage trade publications were right. But in 2005 and early 2006, there wasn’t yet as big a sub-prime problem. It’s really 2006 and 2007 when sub-prime mortgages take off and where everybody begins to say, “Whoa. There’s a problem here.” And then, of course, people didn’t think that housing prices could fall as much as they did, so they assumed that a lot of these mortgages would be okay because the people could refinance, or the bank could take the house and it would be worth what people had borrowed against, and that turned out just to be wrong.
To put it another way, some of these mortgages were bad in any circumstance. Some of them were only bad because house prices fell so much and people misunderstood how far house prices could fall.
Question: Do you see any real impetus for financial regulatory reform?
David Wessel: Well, I think it’s kind of obvious that the financial regulatory system is broken and there is a push by the President and the Treasury Secretary, and the Fed Chairman, and Barney Frank, the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, to change the rules. But they’re running into a lot of resistance and I think they are running into resistance for a number of reasons. One is, that this is kind of hard, and Congress doesn’t like to do hard things and some people want to do a lot and some people want to do nothing, and as a result the status quo sometime prevails. The memory of the crisis is fading enormously quickly and that means that the urgency of doing a financial regulatory reform is fading as well.
But the other problem is that the financial reform has not good constituency. There are a lot of individual constituencies, a lot of businesses and each one of them is attacking one piece of the bill or another, and as a result, that’s slowing it down. The President’s strategy clearly had been to put a new consumer regulatory agency on the bill as a kind of locomotive, to pull it through Congress. But that hasn’t worked very well. So, we’re talking here in November, 2009, looks to me like the House of Representatives will manage to get a bill out before the end of the year, but it will be next year before we learn whether the Senate can do the same and then they’ll have to be compromised and by then the memory of the crisis will have faded so much, or the bitterness over high unemployment may be so severe that it’s difficult to get a coherent bill out of Congress.
You know, I should say that the reason we have a Federal Reserve was because we had a financial panic in 1907, and that panic ended because of the intervention of one man, J. P. Morgan. Everybody agreed after that, that we needed to have a better system. But the Federal Reserve Act didn’t pass until 1913. There were six years of arguments between debtors and creditors, farmers, and bankers, and populace. It wasn’t until Woodrow Wilson became President and kind of showed some leadership and Louis Brandeis helped him form a compromise that got this clunky bill through Congress. So, that was six years, it could take six years this time too.
Jamie Dimon did not do exactly what J. P. Morgan did, the man whose name is on the bank that Jamie Dimon runs. But in the crisis, in March, 2008, someone had to step up and take over Bear Stearns, get some money from the Feds, $30 Billion to help do it, but Jamie Dimon was that man. And J. P. Morgan in that episode saved the day. And they also ended up buying Washington Mutual and they play, now an important role because some banks are bust and other banks are weak and J. P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs are among the strong. So, it is very much history repeating itself. It’s kind of ironic, the rules are different, the circumstances are different, but the J. P. Morgan empire is once again at the center of the whole system.
Recorded on November 20, 2009
The economics editor of the "Wall Street Journal" on Bernanke’s performance, AIG’s bailout, and the ironic position of J.P. Morgan in the crisis. This series was made possible by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.
Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?
- Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
- It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
- COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
What conditions of the new normal were already appreciated widely?<p>First, we understand that higher education is unique among industries. Some industries are governed by markets. Others are run by governments. Most operate under the influence of both markets and governments. And then there's higher education. Higher education as an "industry" involves public, private, and for-profit universities operating at small, medium, large, and now massive scales. Some higher education industry actors are intense specialists; others are adept generalists. Some are fantastically wealthy; others are tragically poor. Some are embedded in large cities; others are carefully situated near farms and frontiers.</p> <p>These differences demonstrate just some of the complexities that shape higher education. Still, we understand that change in the industry is underway, and we must be active in directing it. Yet because of higher education's unique (and sometimes vexing) operational and structural conditions, many of the lessons from change management and the science of industrial transformation are only applicable in limited or highly modified ways. For evidence of this, one can look at various perspectives, including those that we have offered, on such topics as <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/blogs/rethinking-higher-education/lessons-disruption" target="_blank">disruption</a>, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/education/learning/education-technology.html" target="_blank">technology management</a>, and so-called "<a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/media/Excerpt_IHESpecialReport_Growing-Role-of-Mergers-in-Higher-Ed.pdf" target="_blank">mergers and acquisitions</a>" in higher education. In each of these spaces, the "market forces" and "market rules" for higher education are different than they are in business, or even in government. This has always been the case and it is made more obvious by COVID-19.</p> <p>Second, with so much excitement about innovation in higher education, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that students are—and should remain—the core cause for innovation. Higher education's capacity to absorb new ideas is strong. But the ideas that endure are those designed to benefit students, and therefore society. This is important to remember because not all innovations are designed with students in mind. The recent history of innovation in higher education includes several cautionary tales of what can happen when institutional interests—or worse, <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/02/09/apollos-new-owners-seek-fresh-start-beleaguered-company" target="_blank">shareholder</a> interests—are placed above student well-being.</p>
Photo: Getty Images<p>Third, it is abundantly apparent that universities must leverage technology to increase educational quality and access. The rapid shift to delivering an education that complies with social distancing guidelines speaks volumes about the adaptability of higher education institutions, but this transition has also posed unique difficulties for colleges and universities that had been slow to adopt digital education. The last decade has shown that online education, implemented effectively, can meet or even surpass the quality of in-person <a href="https://link-springer-com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/article/10.1007/s10639-019-10027-z" target="_blank">instruction</a>.</p><p>Digital instruction, broadly defined, leverages online capabilities and integrates adaptive learning methodologies, predictive analytics, and innovations in instructional design to enable increased student engagement, personalized learning experiences, and improved learning outcomes. The ability of these technologies to transcend geographic barriers and to shrink the marginal cost of educating additional students makes them essential for delivering education at scale.</p><p>As a bonus, and it is no small thing given that they are the core cause for innovation, students embrace and enjoy digital instruction. It is their preference to learn in a format that leverages technology. This should not be a surprise; it is now how we live in all facets of life.</p><p>Still, we have only barely begun to conceive of the impact digital education will have. For example, emerging virtual and augmented reality technologies that facilitate interactive, hands-on learning will transform the way that learners acquire and apply new knowledge. Technology-enabled learning cannot replace the traditional college experience or ensure the survival of any specific college, but it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale. This has always been the case, and it is made more obvious by COVID-19.</p>
What conditions of the new normal were emerging suspicions?<p>Our collective thinking about the role of institutional or university-to-university collaboration and networking has benefitted from a new clarity in light of COVID-19. We now recognize more than ever that colleges and universities must work together to ensure that the American higher education system is resilient and sufficiently robust to meet the needs of students and their families.</p> <p>In recent weeks, various commentators have suggested that higher education will face a wave of institutional <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/scott-galloway-predicts-colleges-will-close-due-to-pandemic-2020-5" target="_blank">closures</a> and consolidations and that large institutions with significant online instruction capacity will become dominant.</p> <p>While ASU is the largest public university in the United States by enrollment and among the most well-equipped in online education, we strongly oppose "let them fail" mindsets. The strength of American higher education relies on its institutional diversity, and on the ability of colleges and universities to meet the needs of their local communities and educate local students. The needs of learners are highly individualized, demanding a wide range of options to accommodate the aspirations and learning styles of every kind of student. Education will become less relevant and meaningful to students, and less responsive to local needs, if institutions of higher learning are allowed to fail. </p> <p>Preventing this outcome demands that colleges and universities work together to establish greater capacity for remote, distributed education. This will help institutions with fewer resources adapt to our new normal and continue to fulfill their mission of serving students, their families, and their communities. Many had suspected that collaboration and networking were preferable over letting vulnerable colleges fail. COVID-19's new normal seems to be confirming this.</p>
President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address during the Arizona State University graduation ceremony at Sun Devil Stadium May 13, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona. Over 65,000 people attended the graduation.
Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images<p>A second condition of the new normal that many had suspected to be true in recent years is the limited role that any one university or type of university can play as an exemplar to universities more broadly. For decades, the evolution of higher education has been shaped by the widespread imitation of a small number of elite universities. Most public research universities could benefit from replicating Berkeley or Michigan. Most small private colleges did well by replicating Williams or Swarthmore. And all universities paid close attention to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, and Yale. It is not an exaggeration to say that the logic of replication has guided the evolution of higher education for centuries, both in the US and abroad.</p><p>Only recently have we been able to move beyond replication to new strategies of change, and COVID-19 has confirmed the legitimacy of doing so. For example, cases such as <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/03/10/harvard-moves-classes-online-advises-students-stay-home-after-spring-break-response-covid-19/" target="_blank">Harvard's</a> eviction of students over the course of less than one week or <a href="https://www.nhregister.com/news/coronavirus/article/Mayor-New-Haven-asks-for-coronavirus-help-Yale-15162606.php" target="_blank">Yale's apparent reluctance</a> to work with the city of New Haven, highlight that even higher education's legacy gold standards have limits and weaknesses. We are hopeful that the new normal will include a more active and earnest recognition that we need many types of universities. We think the new normal invites us to rethink the very nature of "gold standards" for higher education.</p>
A graduate student protests MIT's rejection of some evacuation exemption requests.
Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images<p>Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we had started to suspect and now understand that America's colleges and universities are among the many institutions of democracy and civil society that are, by their very design, incapable of being sufficiently responsive to the full spectrum of modern challenges and opportunities they face. Far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted. And without new designs, we can expect postsecondary success for these same students to be as elusive in the new normal, as it was in the <a href="http://pellinstitute.org/indicators/reports_2019.shtml" target="_blank">old normal</a>. This is not just because some universities fail to sufficiently recognize and engage the promise of diversity, this is because few universities have been designed from the outset to effectively serve the unique needs of lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color.</p>
Where can the new normal take us?<p>As colleges and universities face the difficult realities of adapting to COVID-19, they also face an opportunity to rethink their operations and designs in order to respond to social needs with greater agility, adopt technology that enables education to be delivered at scale, and collaborate with each other in order to maintain the dynamism and resilience of the American higher education system.</p> <p>COVID-19 raises questions about the relevance, the quality, and the accessibility of higher education—and these are the same challenges higher education has been grappling with for years. </p> <p>ASU has been able to rapidly adapt to the present circumstances because we have spent nearly two decades not just anticipating but <em>driving</em> innovation in higher education. We have adopted a <a href="https://www.asu.edu/about/charter-mission-and-values" target="_blank">charter</a> that formalizes our definition of success in terms of "who we include and how they succeed" rather than "<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/17/forget-varsity-blues-madness-lets-talk-about-students-who-cant-afford-college/" target="_blank">who we exclude</a>." We adopted an entrepreneurial <a href="https://president.asu.edu/read/higher-logic" target="_blank">operating model</a> that moves at the speed of technological and social change. We have launched initiatives such as <a href="https://www.instride.com/how-it-works/" target="_blank">InStride</a>, a platform for delivering continuing education to learners already in the workforce. We developed our own robust technological capabilities in ASU <a href="https://edplus.asu.edu/" target="_blank">EdPlus</a>, a hub for research and development in digital learning that, even before the current crisis, allowed us to serve more than 45,000 fully online students. We have also created partnerships with other forward-thinking institutions in order to mutually strengthen our capabilities for educational accessibility and quality; this includes our role in co-founding the <a href="https://theuia.org/" target="_blank">University Innovation Alliance</a>, a consortium of 11 public research universities that share data and resources to serve students at scale. </p> <p>For ASU, and universities like ASU, the "new normal" of a post-COVID world looks surprisingly like the world we already knew was necessary. Our record breaking summer 2020 <a href="https://asunow.asu.edu/20200519-sun-devil-life-summer-enrollment-sets-asu-record" target="_blank">enrollment</a> speaks to this. What COVID demonstrates is that we were already headed in the right direction and necessitates that we continue forward with new intensity and, we hope, with more partners. In fact, rather than "new normal" we might just say, it's "go time." </p>
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Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.
- Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
- "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
- In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.