At least that's what a graduate student and a biology professor are saying in a recent press release published online by Northwestern University. According to graduate student James F. Morley and Richard I. Morimoto, a professor of biology at Northwestern, occasional bursts of stress or low levels of stress can actually have long-term benefits to cells, helping to release "chaperones" that capture damaged proteins, which can cause, if accumulated to high degrees, such neurodegenerative diseases as Huntington's, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's diseases.

Now there's more to this than I've covered here. The Northwestern press release obviously goes into more detail about how cell proteins are affected by stress, and the findings are published online by the Molecular Biology of the Cell and will appear in print in the journal's February 2004 issue. But the findings do suggest that a little stress can be a healthy thing.

Entrepreneurs should be all set then. I don't think I know one business owner who doesn't experience a bit of stress now and then (understatement). But if you're running on high octane 24/7, you might want to consider the negative effects chronic stress can have on your brain as noted in this online article.