Fight Or Flight: A History Of Adrenaline

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Austria Skiing Freestyle World Cup. (AP)
Austria Skiing Freestyle World Cup. (AP)

We're a culture drenched in adrenaline. From extreme sports to excite us — to those energy drinks to get us through the day.

We're obsessed with the fight-or-flight hormone. In fact, adrenaline might be the only hormone that we've come to associate with super-human powers. With "a shot of adrenaline" we can run like lightening, lift up a tank and express that thrill seeker in all of us. Right? Well, maybe not.

The history of this curious hormone is as fascinating as how our body uses it.

The story of adrenaline — its discovery, its image — even its association with murder — are all chronicled in a new biography of the hormone, entitled, "Adrenaline."

Little surprise that there's a bull fighter on the cover.


Brian Hoffman, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a physician in the Veterans Administration Boston Healthcare system. He's the author of Adrenaline.


Excerpted from ADRENALINE, by Brian B. Hoffman. Copyright © 2013 by The President and Fellows of Harvard College. Used by Permission.  All rights reserved.

This segment aired on May 10, 2013.


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