Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: January 2012
It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Laboratory Research,Aging,and American Sports Institute

Have you read Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels?  According to Swift, the immortals, in his book were subject to aging and disease so that by 80, they were “opinionated, peevish, covetous, morose, vain, talkative” as well as “incapable of friendship and dread to all natural affection, which never descended below their grandchildren.”  At 90, they lost their teeth and hair and could not carry on conversations.  Wow, what a view of aging.  Hopefully, as you age, you will be different than Swift’s fictional characters.
Researchers today are studying the aging process and experimenting with ways to slow it down, by way of diet, drugs and genetic therapy.  They are also working on new ways to replace worn-out organs, and even to help the body rebuild itself.  At the University of California, San Francisco, Cynthia Kenyon found that partially disabling a single gene, called daf -2 lengthened the life of tiny worms.  At Wake Forest Inst. For Regenerative Medicine, Anthony Atala has successfully grown bladders in a lab and implanted them in children and teenagers suffering from a congenital birth defect.  This institute is working on growing more than 30 different organs and tissues, including livers, bones and hearts. Doris Taylor, at the University Minnesota has managed to grow a rat heart.  These are some examples of aging research going on at our universities.
There are a whole host of questions and controversy regarding the aging topic. For example, Leon Kass, chairman of President Bush’s Council on bioethics saw extending life as an assault on human nature itself.  One could argue that the status quo is not a good thing, and that there is nothing noble, beautiful and exciting about deterioration and decline.  You decide what you want to do with your mind and body. I know what I want to do with my mind and body.
Last Saturday, Russ Kiernan, the Dipsea legend, told Secretariat and me about the American Sports Inst.  The founder ,  Dr. Joel Kirsch formerly with  the San Francisco Giants ,was setting up a school in Novato, incorporating mind , body, spirit, physical education ,health  and wellness. Dr. Kirsch is a few years away from establishing this privately funded free tuition school and will begin with kindergarten age children.
A few positives about incorporating physical education into the curriculum: according to the California Department of Education, students who are physically fit and engage in regular physical activity, perform better academically than unfit students.  For 23 years, the now retired, Pete Saccone and his fifth-grade students went for a 45 to 50 minute run on the school grounds every morning at eight o’clock to start their day at the Meridian elementary school in El Cajon, California, which is near San Diego.  After each run, the students would go into their classrooms to do math and writing assignments related to the running.  According to the Meridian principal, his class always had the highest test scores in that school. Too bad he wasn’t your kid’s teacher.
I encourage you to go to American Sports to get more information, especially if you are a parent or teacher. Dr. Kirsch has found his passion.  Have you found yours?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dipsea Trail,Warren Hellman,Restricted Diets and Jed Smith Ultra Run

Saturday Secretariat and I entered and ran a half marathon at Stinson Beach hosted by Coastal Trail Runners.  The weather, ocean and mountainous views were spectacular.  The trail, although rocky, rutted, steep, and tree fallen was relatively dry.  The running   trails and scenic views were like being in a Star Wars or Avatar movie.  We also used part of the famous Dipsea trail.  Lucky us! All in all, there were plenty of steps, and of course the famous ladder.  There was actually a ladder connecting two parts of the uneven trail.   I found this half marathon, tough.
Secretariat ran well and was waiting for me at the finish.  He received a well-deserved Silver medal.  In spite of getting lost-I was following two guys, I received a gold medal.  After the race, we went back to shower at Beverlee Bentley’s home in Mill Valley.  Beverlee’s story can be found in Chapter 18 of “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.  “Incidentally, she was a gold medal rower.  As we were leaving, a tow truck pulled up with Adam’s car (he is one of her sons) attached.    His car broke down, but he was not injured.  Thank goodness for that.
Secretariat and I and then headed to downtown Mill Valley.  I dropped off a couple of my books at the Depot a bookstore and café.  We stayed for lunch.  We found Russ and Marilyn Kiernan there as well.  Russ is the Dipsea Legend and found in Chapter 4 of my book and in 1997 was my first ride and tie partner.  We chatted and exchanged stories. We talked about Warren Hellman and about Russ meeting Richard Blum, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein friends of Warren’s.  Russ was full of good stories.
By the time we reached the foothills, the memories associated with the toughness of the morning run were forgotten.  The morning pain and discomfort was hidden somewhere in my mind. Now, I have to get ready for next Saturday’s Jed Smith, 50 K.   Lucky me! Secretariat and Chris Turney plan to join me.
Last week I wrote about aging.  A few facts, about aging, were found in the Wall Street Journal, August 27-28, 2011.  For example, the average life expectancy of the Cro-Magnon was 18 years; the Renaissance man was 30 years; America in 1850 was 43 years; 78 years in America today; and estimated 101 years in the developed world by the year 2300.  Further, there were 2300 centenarians the United States in 1950; 79,000 in 2010 and an estimated 601,000 in the year 2050.  That number was based on current trends of the US Census Bureau. The trend is growing.  Do you want to be part of the trend?  
In the laboratory, researchers have extended the life of worms 900%; fruit flies 100%; monkeys 60%; and mice 45%.  More specifically, a 2009 study with rhesus monkeys demonstrated how reducing diets (fewer calories) by 30%, affected the two groups.  Pictures of the monkeys on restricted and non-restricted diets were shown.  Just by physical appearance, I would prefer to be on the restricted diet.   Hands down, there was no comparison.   I intend to write more about this fascinating subject tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Exercise, Aspects of Fitness, Fun, Well Being and Aging

Part seven
I know the importance of exercise.  If I want to reach 100 years of age, then I cannot overlook the role of exercise.  Currently, the last age group category in running events ends at 99.  I want to change that number by having a category 100 to 109.  I intend to keep exercise as a major component in my life. In order to do that, exercise has to remain an important goal.
 For those of you who are not yet exercising because of injury or illness, let us start with a walking program to assist and facilitate living healthier and longer.  Consider this program:  1. Walk at least once every day 
2.  Walk to your favorite music  
 3.  Walk faster, farther more frequently 
4.  Walk wherever and whenever you can--do not sit   
5.  Keep a walking Journal to chart your progress   
6.  Set goals for yourself both short-term and long-term  
 7.  Reward yourself with nonfood for achieving those goals  
 8.  Walk with a friend , pet , or your horse   
9.   Practice moderation  at first 10  Practice positive thinking and deep breathing  during walking.
 The following is a definition of fitness. There are  six aspects of fitness  that include: 
1. endurance and cardio respiratory function, i.e. brisk walking, hiking, jogging ,running , bicycling, Aerobic classes,  cross-country skiing, swimming, rowing trampolining.   
2. strength and muscular development i.e. weight training, sprinting, swimming, tennis, rowing, yoga, isometrics, virtual arts, squash, basketball 
3. speed and reaction time, i.e. sprinting tennis, ping-pong, racquetball, Frisbee throwing, baseball, and Bo, martial arts, soccer, football 
4.  Coordination and balance, i.e., dancing, golf, sailing, yoga, squash, tennis, horseback riding ,Tai Chi, basketball, football, badminton, billiards, skating, martial arts,   
5.  flexibility i.e. dancing, stretching,  Tai Chi, meditation, yoga   
6.  neuromuscular relaxation, i.e. gardening, golf, Frisbee throwing, yoga, kite flying, martial arts,Tai Chi.
 Did you notice all the fun that you can have while been fit?  Just think how creative you can be incorporating the different aspects of fitness?  There are many options for you to consider.    Remember to have an adequate cool-down segment that includes stretching and relaxation, regardless of how light or hard you exercise.
How did you measure up when it came to evaluating your fitness?  Are you six out of six or hundred percent fit, according to the above criteria?  If not, you know what to do.
A few benefits ,and I mean just a few  benefits ,of exercise include: 
1. improves immune system functioning 
2.  helps you lose weight 
3.  reduces risk of heart disease 
4.  improves the body’s ability to use fat for energy during physical activity 
5.  helps the body resist upper respiratory tract infections 
6.  increases muscle strength 
7. reduces risk of developing high blood pressure 
8. improves coronary heart circulation 
9.  increases HDL the good cholesterol and reduces LDL or bad cholesterol 
10.   reduces risk of developing type II diabetes 
11.  reduces anxiety 
12.  slows the rate of osteoarthritis 
13.  enhances sexual desire, performance and satisfaction 
14.  improves quality of sleep 
15.   Reduces the risk of developing prostate, breast and colon cancer 
16. reduces the risk of developing a stroke 
17. helps alleviate depression 
18. helps with relaxation 
19. reduces against creeping obesity 
20. improves general mood 
21.  Helps in maintaining an independent lifestyle 
22. improves overall quality of life.
And if you exercise, you cannot lose.  Be like the caveman and be active.  The caveman did not die from cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer.  The caveman likely died from infection.  Thank goodness we have medicine to deal with infection. If you are active you are going to be productive. Good luck, and live long and healthy.  Remember, about 70% of what happens to you is because of you and not genetics. The choice is yours and yours alone.
Secretariat and I are off to Stinson Beach for our half marathon on Saturday.  After that run, we will visit The Depot Bookstore and Café in Mill Valley to drop off more of “It Has Nothing to Do with Age. “

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Aging,Mind-Body, Depression and Chia Seeds

Part six
 What if we are overweight, recovering from an illness, have an illness or injury and aging?  More than likely, we are going to have to deal with rehabilitation, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, etc. and physical issues.  Remember, there is the mind –body connection. What about mental health?  What mental conditions are we likely to face because of our physical limitations or conditions as we age?   The following does not apply to older folks only.
Let’s start with depression.  This mood disorder can begin at an early age.   A few subtle signs of depression, in older folks, include: boredom, loss of interest, loss of pleasure and decreased energy.  These signs can persist, and stay with us for weeks, months, years or even what seems like a lifetime.  Psychotherapy is the most efficient form of treatment or when needed, psychotherapy and medication.  A placebo might work with these symptoms. Just find the right one. I personally prefer cardio exercise.
Anxiety is another common mental health condition.  A few signs of anxiety are related to an apprehension or dread, such as avoiding an activity.  Restlessness or irritability; hyperactivity; and an inability to control hunger can be other indications of anxiety. Medication and psychotherapy can be considered.  I prefer cardio exercise.
Feelings of loss can be troublesome, as evidenced by preoccupation with absent relationships, perseveration of past achievements, looking for attention and sexual inappropriateness.  Sometimes it is very difficult to predict the loss.  When loss happens, it takes time to deal or cope with finality or the reality.  The Individual often feels unprepared and is overwhelmed with all the responsibilities and details with which they are confronted as well.  Often dependency is heightened and exemplified at the beginning of this crisis.  Loss has and an irregular healing time frame.  The time to heal varies from individual to individual. Some people never heal.
Just think about the issues that confront an active or athletic individual coming back from a serious physical condition or unable to rehab successfully.  When there is a loss of identity or the ability to do things that you have done in the past, it is easy to be discouraged.
Giving up, losing the will to live is another unfortunate debilitating psychological state.   This often corresponds to losing meaning in your life, the loss of opportunities to give to others and a role reversal.  It is often difficult going from being in charge to being dependent and cared for.  You might have experienced a loved one that has given up.  When that happens, there is likely very little you can do to change the attitude.   Not being able to control the situation results in feeling helpless.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are other possible disorders that often occur during aging.  Maybe long-term-care, hospice or hospital care comes in the picture.  Creative resources such as Eden alternative, Pioneer network, and Green houses are additional programs that can be considered. Check out the resources.
My mother, as she aged, did not want to leave her home. My sister, brother, and I talked about her going into a retirement facility.  She said.  “I do not want to be around old people.”  I did not fully understand it at the time but she was so right.  She lived until age 93.  Secretariat’s mother is 96 and guess where she lives? These women know, what is best for them. Right Secretariat ?
The presentation and book signing at Sunrise Natural Food went well and gave me another perspective regarding the aging process.  Thank you Leslie for your information regarding my purchasing a Chia bar.  I am going to use this product during Saturday’s half marathon at Stinson Beach.  Lookout Secretariat, as I hope to narrow the gap between us.  I 'll tell him about my secret today during our tapering run. From Secretariat: All the Chia Bars in the world are not going to help you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Human GH,TA-65,Cenegenics, Amino Acids and Vitamins

Part five
Physical factors to consider while aging include Human GH, or somatotropin which is a simple protein made up of a single chain of 191 amino acids.  This substance, released by the pituitary gland, starts in childhood and continues into old age.  Like many hormones hGH is released into the bloodstream in far greater quantities when young, peaking in the mid-20s, and then begins a slow gradual decline. By the time age 60 or 70 is reached, the body has access to only 15 to 20% of the h GH that it used in youth.  Some benefits of h GH supplements include: stronger bones, more muscle mass, younger, thicker skin, loss of body fat, stronger immune system, higher energy level, enhanced sexual performance, greater cardiac output, better exercise performance, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, sharper vision, and improved mood. Do not forget to consult with your doctor regarding this hormone.
DHEA is called the mother of all hormones, because the body uses it to produce the male and female sex hormones -testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. It also produces corticosterone.   Like the hormone HGH, DHEA levels continue to rise until about age 25 and then production drops off sharply.  By age 65 were producing only 10 to 20% of the DHEA that our bodies manufactured at age 20.  Proponents of this hormone suggest the following benefits: enhanced immune system, reduced incidence of cancer, coronary artery disease and osteoporosis, lower blood cholesterol, improved liver function, stabilized blood sugar levels and help preventing the onset of diabetes in adults, assistance in weight loss and converting fat to lean muscle mass, and prolongs life expectancy.  Do not forget to first consult your doctor before considering supplements.
Estrogen, progesterone testosterone replacement  therapy can also be considered. Once again, consult your doctor or consider an evaluation by Cenegenics Medical Institute the world’s largest age management practice.  This program is described as unique and utilizes a balanced combination of nutrition, exercise and hormone optimization. This program also incorporates TA-65. This product lengthens the telomeres  which are located at the end of chromosomes.  In theory, the longer the telomeres, the greater heart and immune system health thus prolonging life.
Nutritional supplements to consider in lengthening your life include chromium the mineral that balances blood sugar; selenium the antivirus supplement; magnesium or calcium that also is associated with fighting aging.
The vital antioxidants: vitamins C., E., and a,” also assist in fighting aging.  Consult homeopathic medicine, your primary care physician, or go to your nearest health food store. If you are taking prescribed medication definitely consult with your doctor first.
I currently am taking vitamin C, Co Q 10, Saw Palmetto, Selenium, and Rhodiola Rosea daily and Zinc occasionally.
To be continued.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aging,Mind-Body,Expectancy,Placebos and Costal Trail Runs

Part four
A powerful concept to consider, in the aging process, is the Mind-Body connection.  The power of our mind or how we think influences our mental and physical health, performance and our body. Physical health and performance can also affect our mind or influence our thinking as well. To illustrate, in my dissertation I studied the motivational concepts level of aspiration or expectancy. To simplify, these terms referred to a frame of reference or attitude to goals or self-esteem in which an individual experiences a feeling of either success or failure.  When a successful goal has been accomplished, self-esteem, expectation and level of aspiration tend to rise.  Success leads to success and an increase in self-esteem, expectation and level of aspiration.  By the same token, a series of failures can lead and result in decreases in self-esteem, expectation and level of aspiration.
In part of my research, I hypothesized those children who had high expectations or level of aspirations of success on an arithmetic assignment, would perform better than children who had low expectations or low level of aspirations on an arithmetic test. Sure enough, children, who expected to do well, did well.  Children who expected to do poorly did poorly. This was an important finding that could apply to other facets in our life.
Pay attention to expectations.  Are your expectations, centered on reality or are they centered on fantasy? Success experiences are important.  Also important, is not to set the success bar too low.  If the bar is set too low, one cannot experience success.  If the success bar is set too high, failure can easily happen.  Make sure that goals and expectations are realistic and centered on reality.
Likely, most of you have heard of research, incorporating placebos.  Typically, when testing the efficiency of a drug to combat symptoms, the patient or guinea pig was put into one of two trials.  In one trial, a real drug was used with a group of patients, while the other group of patients was given a placebo or an inert sugar pill. The researchers then evaluated the efficiency of the real drug.  Often, is the case, researchers find that the placebo also reduced symptoms?   Of course, the drug manufacturers prayed that the real drug worked better than the non-drug or placebo.
In one study, patients with irritable bowel syndrome were given a placebo. They were told that the pill was inert but they were part of a mind- body process study. Guess what?  Even these patients reported feelings of relief, a reduction in symptoms and an improved quality of life. How was that for mind power?
In another study, hotel room attendants were told, by the experimenters, that their jobs provided a good workout.  These subjects not only reduced their weight, but reduced their blood pressure and body fat as well.
The power of the mind was further exemplified in the study that measured gut peptide (ghrelin). Ghrelin levels fall, in proportion to calories consumed.  It is this chemical process that essentially communicates with your brain and gives you the signal that you are no longer hungry and you do not need to search out food. Some patients were told that a milkshake had 620 calories and that was enough calories meaning your gut peptide level would fall.  Therefore, you were full, and wouldn’t need to search out more food.  The other patients were told that their milkshake at 120 calories.   What do you think happened to their peptide levels?  Their gut peptide levels rose.  They thought they needed more calories or food. They searched for more food.
In a   study with Parkinson’s disease patients, the experimenters used real medication and a placebo.  The researchers found that the placebo actually improved the patients Parkinson disease symptoms, just like the real medication did.   The placebo actually induced the brain to produce greater amounts of dopamine-the neurotransmitter known to be useful in treating the disease.
Make sure you that your mind is communicating with your body, effectively.  Do not allow self-defeating notions or self-fulfilling prophecies to impact your body as well as your health.  Guard against your body impacting your thinking process.  Recently, I told Randall, who is dealing with a hamstring issue, that he required patience and not to hurry back before he healed.  I told him not to let his thinking get impacted and distorted by his condition (thinking he would lose too much muscle mass).  He said he understood. Hopefully, he will practice patience and allow himself to recover before hitting the trail again. Good luck and good fortune, Randall.  Heal so we can run again.
Part five to be continued tomorrow. On another note, Secretariat, and I are tapering for Saturday’s Stinson Beach half marathon.  Join us.  Also, tomorrow I am lecturing on Aging and a book signing at Sunrise Natural Foods located 2160 Grass Valley Hwy., Auburn, CA.  Phone number is 530 – 888 – 8973.  I hope to meet you there.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Aging ,Immoratality,Tevis Cup, Ride and Tie, Horses,Dogs, Cats and Goats

Part three
   As far as successful aging goes, do not forget about the importance or the role of four-legged critters in our lives.  Before relocating to Cool, California, I resided in the Bay Area.  On my ranch there was a long driveway that connected my home to my corral.  Every morning, I proceeded walking down the driveway in order to ride my horse. On the morning walks, I was accompanied by Kenya the cat, Billy the goat, Beau the Labrador, and Misty the Border Collie. These critters were family.  Misty, I admit, was my favorite.  When I reached Leo the quarter horse, the family was intact.  I saddled Leo and the family, without Kenya, headed toward the switch back trail and trails beyond.
Leo was my second quarter horse and by golly, that horse protected me, on our rides as well as keeping me on his back.   I thank you Leo for keeping me safe while teaching me to ride.
 After Leo, I got my first Arabian  named Running Bear.  With Running Bear, we entered a few limited distance endurance rides and he was my first ride and tie horse.  My next horse was a half Arab, half quarter that I renamed Red Raider or Raider, for short, after the Oakland Raiders.  Raider carried me many endurance miles over the Sierra Nevada’s and facilitated my receiving the coveted Tevis Cup buckle.  He also was instrumental in ride and tie and allowed me to be successful in that sport as well.  Raider was my favorite horse. By the way, Misty accompanied us on all the training and conditioning rides.  Misty and Raider got along fine.  We were a happy family.
 Then came Gypsy Rose named after Gypsy Rose Lee.  She was a French Arabian that I bought in Texas.  I initially met Gypsy, while returning from Florida earlier in the year.  In the spring, Michael Shackleford, Chris Bartow, DVM and I went to Texas to purchase two horses.  I purchased Gypsy.    Gypsy carried me many endurance and ride and tie miles.  She earned the distinction of completing the most ride tie miles during the season numerous times.  By the way, Gypsy also carried Jonathan Jordan and me 100 miles on the Swanton Pacific 100 mile ride and tie in 2008.  My ride and tie partner, Jonathan, was about 6 feet four and weighed well over 200 pounds at that time.  Thank you Gypsy for  caring us on your back during that ride and tie throughout  the day  and in the night going up and down the Santa Cruz Mountains.  I want to add that she did not complain.
Currently, I take Linda’s wire haired terrier with me, at times, on trail runs.  The rest of the family includes Linda’s quarter horse Decca and an Arabian called Nails.
I   owe much to my animals.  I get to care for them and play with them at times.  Animals are our pets and provide companionship, both at home and on the trails.  They allow us to pet them, groom them which in turn nurture us. Tactile contact is important especially during the aging process.  If you are aging, and do not have a pet, I suggest you reconsider.   Your rewards will be numerous, I guarantee it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stagecoach Century and mind Clutter

After having a few difficult days with my mind full of negative clutter I set off Jan 14 for my 7th Century bike ride.  It was located out of Ocotillo, 80 miles east of San Diego, and what seemed to be the middle of nowhere.  Unsure of the safety for a older woman traveling alone I inquired what my options were, so I heeded their advice and stayed with the group in San Diego and made the 1hr and 1/2 drive to the event start before the crack of dawn.  If I had any concerns about my safety as I arrived it was apparent I had no worries as border patrol was there to protect our borders along with all the wonderful ride support of the organizers.
I set off headed toward nowhere only to find it was in fact the road to everywhere.  No towns, stop signs, traffic lights, cars, nothing but remote desert.  2 miles in after crossing the border check,  I saw the sign stating "entering Anza Borrego Desert" and was surprised to find I would get to climb up into the high Desert that my father loved so much.  This already made me happy to start as I knew he was with me.  My clutter continued to take up my mind until around mile 25 which is where my body goes into it's zen thing and all of a sudden my mind cleared and the only thing I could see was the beauty around me and my father watching over.  This ride went along the original stagecoach routes and when you got up high you could look down upon all their travels.  It is impossible to hold onto mind clutter when experiencing this beauty and I am reminded why I have loved endurance sports that take you into the wilderness my whole life.  They take you out of your place and into one of beauty and you come back a better person.
The ride was mod difficult with 5000 feet of elevation and had a timed option which I took.  There were 700  riders entered of which 407 completed the event.  152 chose to be timed and I came in 141 out of 152.  I was the only woman in my age category and was happy with my ride time of 7hrs 24 min. 
Talk about a world of contrasts, the next day I went to stay with my mom and rode 50 miles on the beach.  I found myself thinking how lucky I was to live in this beautiful State where you can enjoy the desert, mountains, and ocean all in the same weekend.
On another note I am proud to say that this Friday my training plan included 110 miles as I progress to my goal of riding a double century.  I still remember my first century and it took about 3 days before I could imagine doing it again.  Now 7 centuries later with a very precise training plan I am on my way to a double.  I completed the 110 miles in record pace for me and my body felt great.  No limping off the bike or sore muscles.   I can't begin to tell you the joy in exceeding 100 miles, there was never a time during the ride that I had any option but to complete the task.  Again my mind cleared of clutter as I rode North along the Coast and then into the farmlands of Oxnard.  I made it home as the sun set 7hrs 17min later and thought for the first time that maybe just maybe I might be able to reach my goal.  If I don't I won't punish myself, because the journey is well worth it.  I will take it week by week and enjoy the achievements wherever they may take me.  
by Penny Fink (aka Secretariat's sister)

The Brickel kids are something else. Follow their path and you will succeed.
It doesn't matter if it is on the trail or the road. Dr. Frank Lieberman

Friday, January 20, 2012

How to Live to be a Psychologically Young 100

Part two
Okay, I am now exercising on a regular basis, because I have a specific goal.  A reason to exercise gives it purpose.  And, the more concrete the goal, coupled with desire ,changes the focus as well as thinking about exercise. How we think about something like exercise is very important. My goal is measurable.  I want to participate and compete in ride and tie.   For me, that means I want to do well in the ride and tie sport because of my competitive nature.  In order to do well, I have to improve with my running; have a strong and well conditioned equine; and locate and team up with a partner that runs and rides well.  It took some time, but I accomplished that end.  Not only did I find partners for the competition, but another benefit occurred as many of them became good, solid friends.

I worked on accomplishing my running goals.  My running did improve as I now began to run the hills and my endurance or stamina increased as evidenced by my ability to run longer distances as well.  For example, I entered a half marathon and a 50 K. trail run.  In other words, after a short while, I was able to run or cover the same distance as my horse, during these events. If my horse was able to run 25 and 35 miles during an event then I wanted to be able to do the same. Notice, I had concrete goals that were measurable and attainable with hard work.   I felt good about my accomplishments,so far so good. Success facilitates success, which means positive feelings associated with self.  Seek success experiences, regardless of your age.
Another change that took place that corresponded with my ride and tie experience was learning and being introduced to anti- aging, nutrition, and rejuvenation.  The book, “Stopping the Clock” by doctors Katz and Goldman opened up another dimension for me to think about. I also learned more about such things as hormones, supplements, and models who exemplified anti -aging.  So now, I began to incorporate better eating habits, in addition to getting in excellent physical shape as a result of all the cardio training that I was doing.
Other changes that took place were the many friendships that I made, as well as becoming part of the ride and tie family competitors.  I learned from people,  more experienced or seasoned ,about conditioning techniques, proper clothing, running shoes, and input about nutrition  before, during, and after the event. Of major importance was the ability to nurture affiliative needs.  Affiliative needs play a significant role in the aging process especially for men .Women generally have better support systems.  I was extremely fortunate as my friendships allowed me to be nurtured.
 Further, I learned about other extreme events such as, but not limited to, the Tevis Cup, Way Too Cool 50 K., American River 50 and The Western States 100.  It did not take long for me to begin riding in a 50 mile endurance ride or running in a 50 mile ultra- run.  Remember, I wanted to be able to run the distance that my horse had to travel in these events.  So when I completed a 100 mile endurance ride, I then had to be able to run 100 miles as well.  Simply put, I accomplished that as well. Important psychological –motivational principles that I applied included a realistic level of aspiration or expectancy. I expected to do well and saw my level of competency continue to get better and improve.  I made concrete goals .I competed in  ultra-events.  I incorporated mindfulness  by being in and acknowledging the present . For example ,if I was experiencing  pain or discomfort, I acknowledged it. I continued to  be future oriented. I was always planning for the next run or the next training. In the process I found meaning and passion in my life.  As a consequence, I became happier with myself, within my life space.   More to follow next week.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

You Too Can Live to be a Happy Centenarian

Do you want to be an active centenarian?  I do!  The key word is active.  I am well on my way toward that achievement, and I want to share with you my secrets that I accidentally acquired.  In 1997, I entered a limited distance endurance ride called the Mustang classic held at Mt. Hamilton in San Jose, California.  I was 57 years old, and interested in endurance riding.  While at that event, I became aware of a ride and tie event being held as well.  I knew very little about ride and tie, other than the competitors were ultra-athletes.  By coincidence, I was camped next to two ride and tie competitors.  One of them,  I called Secretariat and the other his partner Jeff Windenhausen. I had interest and chatted with these two friendly souls and pretty soon, I was being recruited by the president of the Ride and Tie Association Curt Riffle and Robert Eichstaedt another competitor. It did not take long, and before I knew it,  I was planning to compete in the Quicksilver Ride and Tie held in May. I was told that they were going to find a partner for me.
Little did I know it, but my life made a drastic change in a totally different direction.  At that time, I had a full-time private practice as a psychologist in Fremont, California; rode my Harley Davidson motorcycle; and was thinking about competing in endurance riding.  I had no idea, at the time, what my life was going to be some 14 to 15 years later.  I was a little overweight, a workaholic, and in an unhappy marriage that was dissolving.  I was not exercising or running at that time.  In fact, if there was a" Hill", I walked it because psychologically I could not run it.
You might wonder, what is the big deal about ride and tie?  First of all, in order to do this sport, I had to start running.  If I wanted to do well in the sport then I had to systematically train and improve my running.  Translated, this meant I was now exercising on a regular basis, and more importantly ,it was cardio.  With consistent running, I got in better shape and improved my running ability.  It did not happen overnight, but it happened.
Briefly, ride and tie consists of two people and a horse.  One person rides the horse while the other one ,partner, runs on the trail.  In the event, the rider dismounts, ties the horse to a tree limb and begins running down the trail, while the partner runs to the horse, mounts and chases after the runner ahead.  The partners continue making these exchanges, until they cross the finish line, some 22 to 35 miles later.  For a more detailed description about the sport, visit the website: www.ride and or read the book “40 Years of Madness: A History of Ride and Tie Championships.”  More tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Trail Running ,Tapering , Improved Self Esteem, and Happiness

Tapering for your next run is important for you.  Yesterday, Secretariat, and I went about 13 to 14 miles on our trail run.  He told me that he has begun tapering for our Stinson beach half marathon trail run on the 28th of this month.  He thought that in previous runs he did not taper properly. In part, his idea of tapering is related to the fact that we ran three long runs last week, and that he has some muscle and knee discomfort.  As a result, yesterday’s run incorporated the idea of tapering.
For me, tapering begins 10 days prior to the event, which means it begins today. Translated this means that I will do a trail run of 13 to 14 miles.  Thursday’s through Sunday’s runs will be shorter on each successive day in terms of miles. My trail run Monday through Wednesday of next week will be about an hour each day.  I might do something easy, meaning slower on Thursday with the rest day on Friday.  I have been incorporating this idea for the last 10 years or so.  I welcome input on tapering.  Tell me your ideas.
An article titled “The Secrets of Tebow Hatred” appeared in the Wall Street Journal-Saturday/Sunday, January 14-15, 2012.  In this article the writer talk about the negative public backlash against Tim Tebow.  I was surprised-maybe I should not have been that there is a website for Tebow haters.  Can you believe that?  It is obviously very easy for someone to give their opinion and to transmit that widely and quickly.  Be careful what you hear and what you read.  Knowing your source might be helpful. Also, there was a radio station in Orlando, Florida, that used crude language referring to Tim’s well advertised virginity related to his saving himself for marriage. Bill Maher on HBO and a Saturday Night Live skit also got in the act, through comedy, having fun on Tim’s behalf.
 Michael Medved suggests that Tebow hatred is related to envy and jealousy of the American male.  He talked about Tim” being 24, single, supremely athletic, and enormously wealthy and adored by millions of young women”   compared to the rest of us- mortal, limited and imperfect. According to him, no wonder we are envious and jealous.
For some, the writer may have a point, as one third of the nation is obese, and many in financial hardship- the result is resentment.  Now days it seems there is much anger and division in this country. Much of this is related to the mental and physical health in this country.
In regards to the health problem in this country, it is clear there needs to be change.  It is apparent that nutrition and the physical activity levels are a problem. Each of us has to be a better model and encourage others.   When you improve your health by exercising it results in better mood, increased self-esteem, better brain functioning and improved overall quality of life. Believe me, the healthier we are both mentally and physically, the happier we will become.  The happier we are the less angry we are as I know from personal experience. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Joys of Trail Running,Tim Tebow,NFL ,and Health

A few words about last Saturday's run.  Saturday, Secretariat, and I ran on the trail to the deli in Downtown Cool where we met Carrie.  She had an early morning meeting, and I gave her our estimated time of arrival.  I told her she would be our aid station and to bring goodies. She did as requested. Once there, I told her that many years ago, Secretariat beat this world class ex ride and tie female runner at a running race where she gave him a cute nickname.  I told her that he would be angry with me if I told her the cute name.  Immediately, Carrie wanted to know the name in the worst way and begin guessing.  And wouldn’t you just know it, she guessed the name.  You will have to ask her about that cutesy name as I cannot tell you.
Then we left to run back to my home going by Chris Turney’s house.  Secretariat, as usual, got into the lead and when we reached Chris’s home, we found Chris, Micki and Secretariat waiting for us. Secretariat was drinking a beer and claimed he had been there for a long time.  Chris said he was still not feeling well and declined to join us for this run.   By the way, Chris knows Secretariats AKA as it is a trail secret.  What you hear on the trail stays on the trail –the runner’s code...
After Secretariat, finished his beer, we took off for my home, which is about 50 to 55 minutes away.  After a while, Secretariat got into the lead again.  Carrie and I had much to talk about, and as a result, we leisurely reached my home.  Secretariat said he had been waiting for us for a long time, but Linda told us differently.  At my home, Secretariat had another beer, a chocolate brownie, a banana, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate syrup. He said he enjoyed that run especially because of the aid stations.  All told, Secretariat and I covered about 15 miles give or take.
Yesterday I talked about Tim Tebow.  I just have to comment on an article in the January 12, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal titled “Does God Care Who Wins Football Games?”  This article was written by Fran Tarkington the NFL quarterback who primarily played for the Minnesota Vikings.  Tarkington grew up the son of a Pentecostal Holiness minister and attended church on Wednesday night, Friday night, Sunday morning, and Saturday night every week of his childhood.  He was at the first-ever national camp for the Fellowship of Christian athletes attended by Otto Graham, and Don Meredith other NFL quarterbacks.
Tarkington commented that in the Super Bowl with the Raiders, he was sure that God would be on his side for the game, because it was against the Raiders, and they were the villains of the league.  He said it was hard for him to believe they would lose because he thought the Vikings had more Christians on their team than the rebel Raiders.  He said.  “We lost.”  What was cute was when he said that players would pray before the game “let there not be any injuries, let everybody play good game.”  He added that there was no prayer to win the game, because he feared that God would punish us for asking.  He  said that after the moment of devotion, the team would all shout in unison, “now let us go kill those SOB’s!” Enjoy the rest of your day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tim Tebow ,Personality, Expectation, Obesity and Success

Additional comments begun last week about personality and weight gain.  For example, individuals who thrive on competition and deadline may appear to be high powered, but the power that drives them internally is adrenaline and cortisol hormones.  These stress hormones supply quick bursts of energy in fight or flight situations, but when the alarm is unrelenting or constant; they can cause health problems including obesity.  Cortisol stimulates the brain chemical called neuropeptide Y., which boost carbohydrate carvings, and also makes the body churn out excess insulin and accumulate fat particularly in the belly, which raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other diseases.  As you know, people who feel chronically stressed often use food for energy and comfort and rationalize that they have earned it. Do you know of anyone that fits the self-defeating description?  If you do, consider mentioning: exercise is the best way to burn up excess cortisol; look to something that can hamper, distract or relax you as a reward I.e.  a good book ,a hot bath etc.  Remember, exercise is best!
Who is familiar with the quarterback who won a Heisman Trophy and led his University of Florida gators to a national championship?  This man was Florida’s USA Today Football Player of the year as a high school player and the son of a pastor who always put his faith before football even while playing in the National Football League.  I bet you thought it was Tim Tebow.  Well, it was not Tim but Danny.  Danny Wuerffel was the first, but in no way received the media coverage as Tim.
Father James Martin wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal, weekend edition Saturday/Sunday, January 14-15, 2012 titled “is God Answering Tebo’s Prayers?” I encourage you to see what the Jesuit theologian wrote about in reference to the Denver Broncos recent win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Some might argue that God was in Tim’s corner when that feat occurred while some might argue, why he left Tim and allowed the Broncos to get demolished by the Patriots this past Saturday.
From a psychological point of view, Tim’s NFL football heroics this season were terrific.  His Bronco football team was losing before he was put in as quarterback.  What he added this year was hope, belief, and expectancy.  His competitiveness and gutty play was contagious and had a ripple effect.  It did not take long for his teammates to change their attitude- belief structure which resulted in behavior change-they played better and won most of their games.
The power of expectation, believing in you, coupled with thinking “I can” was demonstrated by this young religious man.  All the power to him, and if he believes that he is inspired by God, good for him.  Of course, this 6 foot five, 250 pound strong, dedicated, no nonsense male athlete has both mental and physical attributes going for him. Good luck Tim. Thank you for demonstrating how the beliefs in “I can” results in behavior change.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Weight Gain,Emotional Triggers, Sleep Deprivation,and a Health Coach

Yesterday, Secretariat, and I both had an excellent 14 plus or minus trail run.  We both commented on how different yesterday felt, compared with Tuesday’s grueling, long, exhausting and difficult run.  My legs, thank goodness, did not feel like they were cased in cement.  My energy was good, and  the tiredness that I felt was a good tiredness-if you know, I mean.  I was attempting to figure out possible explanations for Tuesday’s grind.  I came up with the number of possibilities, but I am not real sure as to the exact reason.  I remember Gordon Palmer, telling me number years ago something like “The best thing to do when that day’s run is not going well is to turn around and go back home.” There are times when you run, and do not feel well but that quickly changes and you begin to feel better.  Usually, I do not start out full of it or feeling as awful as I did Tuesday. Yesterday was more like the norm, and the more familiar.  The point is that feelings change during a run experience however, Tuesday they did not.
Yesterday’s blog had to do with personality traits, habits and weight gain.  As you might expect, the link between emotions, food and weight control   begins early in life.  In a study of 977 children, researchers found that toddlers who had low quality emotional relationships with their mothers are more than twice as likely to be obese at age 15 compared to those that have closer bonds.   Can you identify your emotional triggers?  Do you eat when you are tired, feeling isolated or unloved? Do you eat when you are feeling empty?  Were you able to bond with your mother or father when younger?  I know where you can go to get insight.
People who are called, night owls are often sleep deprived, and as result that drives down levels of the leptin hormone that signifies fullness and drives up ghrelin, the hormone that fuels appetite, particularly for high carbohydrates and high calorie foods.  Even short-term sleep deprivation can make healthy people process sugar as if they were diabetic.  Night Owls also tend to skip breakfast missing an important chance to get their metabolism going early, and they often smack far into the night.  That sets the stage for a night eating syndrome.  People consume a significant portion of the daily intake after dinner, which is often associated with obesity and diabetes.
Some suggestions: eliminate caffeine after the noon hour, keeping lights, TV and other electronics low in the evening and scheduling early morning appointments.  Also, declare the kitchen off-limits after 9 PM. Do not be a night owl; get a good night sleep because it is better for you.  Yes I know that  many people have difficulty getting a good night sleep . Hopefully you are not one of them.  Believe me there are other ways to get that rest that is needed other than by taking pills.   I know something about that as result of my private practice. Stay tuned as more to follow.
Join Linda and me at the Barnes & Noble booksellers, in Citrus Heights, California this evening at 7 PM for “Open Mic for Writers.” I intend to read parts of Chapter 7, Jim Steere, and DVM: Renaissance man, and Athlete Extraordinaire.”  I like telling his impressive, interesting and inspiring story."Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind."– Henry James

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Costal Trail Runs, Dipsea,Personalty and Weight Control

Secretariat and I plan to run a 10 to 15 mile trail run today.  We both entered a half marathon put on by Coastal Trail Runs.  The run on the 28th of this month will begin at Stinson beach in Marin County.  The start will be a climb, and then a lot of downhill.  The runs in that location –Dipsea, Double Dipsea, Quad Dipsea etc. are not easy or for the frail of heart my friends. Believe me, because I know -I ran the Quad Dipsea once.  There was 28.7 brutal miles with 671 steps times four for grand total of 2,684 steps.  I remember it well.
Luckily, Secretariat and I are going to stay at Beverlee Bentley’s home in the city of Marin.  Beverlee has a compelling story found in Chapter 18 of “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.  ” This young lady hails from the province of Ontario in Canada.  She studied to become a nurse and left her country of Canada and came to San Francisco.  She met and married Bill.  Unfortunately, 57-year-old Bill, a Black Diamond skier, while skiing at Alpine Village, caught an edge, fell and severed his spinal cord at C5 and C6.  That horrific accident changed the lives of the Bentley’s.
From March 4, 1994 until recently, Beverlee provided constant care for Bill until he died late last year. While taking care of Bill, a friend of hers invited her to attend a Rowing workshop.  She said to me that if the was not for rowing, she does not know what would have happened to her.  That sport provided her with purpose, a new support system, goals, exercise, and an opportunity to develop an identity very different from being the caretaker. Her life then took on new meaning as she developed a passion for the sport.
I was honored when the Bentley family asked me if the chapter about their mother could be included permanently at Bills burial site.
On another note, an article in the January 10, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal talked about relationship between personality, and those unwanted pounds.  For example, the same parts of the brain that control emotions and stress response, also govern appetite.  In one study, those who scored high  on neuroticism-the tendency to easily experience negative emotions and low  on consciousness, being organized and disciplined were the most likely to be overweight and obese.  Further, impulsivity was strongly linked to body mass index-the subjects in the top 10% of impulsivity weighted on average 25 pounds more than those in the lowest 10%.  People who rated themselves low on agreeableness were the most likely to gain weight over the years.
The link between emotions, food and weight control, starts at a very early age.  If you are having difficulty with weight control and have some issues with personality traits mentioned above, you may want to sort that out.  Unfortunately, seeking professional help to assist in dealing with weight control and personality is not covered by third party payers.  Wouldn’t you think, that if individuals were more successful with weight control and had lower BMI ‘s,there would be less physical problems requiring less medical care, and as a result more profit for the insurance companies. Currently, your doctor can not give you a pill that will assess early age personality dynamics that contribute to problems with weight gain.  More about personality and weight issues tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Family Fitness, Mortality,Exercise Your Brain and Learning

Yesterday I felt mortal.  Secretariat and I went out on the trail for about four hours.  First, we ran to the arena to assist Linda with her horse Nails.  She has tendinitis in her right shoulder and is unable to mount her horse by herself so I helped her get on Nails.  From there we headed toward 3rd gate.  After that, we ran towards the Dead Truck trail, crossed American Canyon Creek, and continued past poverty bar on the way towards Maine bar.  I was tempted to call it a day and head up the steep Maine bar trail climb but continued on.  Looking back, that would have been the smart thing to do since I was running in cement during most of the entire run.  Now it is on to Browns bar.  Normally I would run up Brown’s bar but not that day. Secretariat was waiting for me at the bridge.  He said he was there for about 15 minutes, and he also walked up most of Browns bar.  He said he was tired too but seemed to have more youthful energy than me.  We had more climbing to do before we finally reached the house. To no one’s surprise, within a half mile of home, I started feeling good again.  I was happy to reach home .I cannot remember having a run like that.  I probably have and of course it would be good to forget.  Upon reaching home, Secretariat had his beer while I added a chocolate supreme Lean Pro-Matrix-a next level protein solution to my smoothie for recovery. I purchased this product from my friend Marty.  I will provide feedback about this 34 gram protein supplement after a trial.  Anyway, today might be a rest day.
I will bet that you will love this bit of information found in Time magazine dated January 16, 2012.  Researchers in the Netherlands reported that children who get more exercise, whether at school or on their own tend to have higher GPA’s and better scores on standardized tests .  Their conclusion was based on 14 different studies of physical activity and academic performance.  Guess what, the more the children moved the better their grades were in school, particularly in the basic subjects like math and English and reading.
Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that students need about one hour of physical activity every day to remain healthy; only 18% of high school students meet this weekly requirement   According to a 2009 survey, 23% of students had not exercised at all during that period.  We know that physical activity can improve blood flow to the brain, fuel memory, attention and creativity, which is essential to learning.  Exercise releases hormones that can improve mood and suppress stress, which can also help learning.
Is anybody listening? Hopefully, this information will not fall on deaf ears.  Is there a coincidence that shows that standardized test scores in the United States is dropping compared to the rest of the world.  However, our student obesity problem is growing in the other direction.  Test scores drop as body weight rises. Inactivity increases and body weight increases.  This nation is getting heavier and dumber.  What are we going to do about it?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mind Over Matter, Placebos,Holistic Health, and 1/2 Marathons

Part two
Yesterday Secretariat and I attended a Sons in Retirement luncheon.  I showed our book trailer video to the group, and spoke about my anti aging pill ride and tie, meeting Secretariat in 1997, and about our competition.  I talked about mind-body and the power of expectations .I made the point that expectations had to be reality-based.  On our training runs, I do not expect to beat Secretariat based on 15 years of history –as that is the reality.  Hopefully ,I made that point to the group. Secretariat took the opportunity and talked about his competitiveness, and why he runs.
Today, Secretariat and I will run to the arena, help Linda saddle her horse, and assist her in mounting.  Then we will continue on our trail run, and all told, will travel about 15 miles.  We both have entered a half marathon on the 29th in Marin County.

A study published in New England Journal of Medicine included 46 asthma patients.  They were put into four types of experimental treatment groups: no treatment at all; supplied with an albuterol inhaler; supplied with a placebo inhaler; and subjected to sham acupuncture. In this study, the research team induced an asthma attack, and then measured lung function, as well as a perception of symptoms. One interesting finding is that the real inhaler, improved lung function better than the placebo inhaler.  However, the patients in both inhaler groups reported feeling good   regardless of whether they used a real or a placebo inhaler.  The placebo inhaler worked just as well-how’s that for mind over matter.

  2,703 menopausal patients with hot flashes were given either a real or sham acupuncture treatment and evaluated after five weeks.  At the end of this five week treatment procedure, only some 60% of participants in both groups reported that hot flashes.  Seven weeks later, 55% of the patients in the sham acupuncture reported hot flashes, compared with 73% in the real acupuncture group.  Hooray for sham acupuncture.
Okay, these findings are impressive- even more so when patients are told they are receiving a placebo.  Placebos, in some cases, seem to work better than actual, real medication.  One explanation is that expectations play a significant role along with the perceived meaning of the medical treatment situation.  These patients find themselves in an environment where the setting is positive and official; they are given personal attention, and coupled with an innovative approach – like a daily pill taking ritual.   These factors likely created and resulted in an openness to change or to get well.
  We have a mind-body self-healing process that suggests that the placebo or our mind changes conditions, and not the underlying biology of an illness.  In other words, the way a person experiences or reacts to an illness is an important key. Just think if we did not have HM Os and managed care systems and the medical profession spent more one-on-one time with the patient just like in the old days; and the doctors were trained in some of these other adjunct procedures; and the drug companies had less hold on the medical profession-the doctor’s did not have to write prescriptions, we might have different and healthier outcomes.
Another element to consider is what if insurance companies reimbursed the providers who actually work one-on-one with patients? As long as insurance companies are in the business for profit, it is unlikely they will reimburse many of the holistic treatments. Insurance companies and the prescription drug companies have the lobbyists to keep things the way they are. You might ask who does not want a single-payer.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Placebos,Mind Body,Expectancy, Depression, and Trail Running

couple of comments about Saturday’s trail run “to Cool and Back. “First and for most there is disagreement about the number miles for our run.  Secretariat seems to think we ran about 18 ½, while I believe that the distance was at least 20 miles if not more.  In any event, it was a fun run.  As it turned out Secretariat, Chris Turney a.k.a. Alpha Schnauzer, and I did the running.  Lucky for us, Linda and Michele met us In Cool, for our aid station.  It was great to see them there.  I thank you both for coming to Cool and being there for us.
  On this particular day, there was a lot of self analysis as Secretariat exposed many childhood memories.  There was lots of laughter, in hearing the stories and it was much fun.  Secretariat had to be home in the early afternoon so that gave him an excuse to run hard and fast as if he needs an excuse.  As it turned out, Secretariat and the Alpha Schnauzer got out in front, for good, after crossing Highway 49.  Eventually, l lost sight of them but I kept my pace and I was okay with the reality.
While I was walking up Maine bar (a nasty steep climb) a young 31-year-old runner - Heidi caught up to me.  We chatted until we reached the recycling center, and from there, she headed home on a different trail.  From the recycling center the distance to my house was approximately a mile.  Just prior to reaching my house, I caught the   Alpha Schnauzer, out of water and trashed.  Secretariat said he was about half an hour ahead of us, and he was smiling as he told me. Of course he was smiling because he is so happy. Let me add that I was happier than Alpha Schnauzer.

 I have some more information pertaining to last week’s blog regarding the powerful mind-body connection.  Previously, I gave examples of how mind-body influences behavior.  From my research on expectancy to present-day studies regarding placebo, the data and findings are impressive.  I commented that, in my research, the “expectancy” held by the individual predicted how that student was going to perform on arithmetic task.  If the student expected to do well on the task, he did just that.  By the same token, another finding of significance is that the use of positive feedback resulted in better performance on arithmetic task compared with the use of negative feedback. We believe that positive feedback can influence attitude, and belief resulting in better performance compared to negative input and feedback.  That is not to say that negative feedback never works.  However, I would rather have a steady diet of positive feedback than daily negative complaining. How about you – what do you prefer to hear?
Research studies –Parkinson’s disease, published in 2001 found that a placebo was effective at improving Parkinson’s disease symptoms.   In that study, the placebo actually induced the brain to produce greater amounts of the dopamine neurotransmitter known to be useful in treating the disease.   In studies related to depression, it is estimated that 30 to 45% of patients responded very well to a placebo.    Fertility rates have been found to improve in women getting the placebo. .  One study, a recent randomized trial of women with poly cystic ovarian syndrome, found that five of 33 Pregnant while taking a placebo over a six-month period, got pregnant, compared with 7 of 32 that received medication.  In essence, there were no statistical differences between the two groups. One explanation was that the women given the placebo likely experienced a decrease in stress.  Other studies have demonstrated pregnancy rates as high as 40% in placebo groups.
Additional research findings will be presented on mind-body in tomorrow’s blog.
On another note, Secretariat, and I are attending a luncheon presentation for the Sons in Retirement.  I have been invited to give a talk.  The talk today will be on Anti-aging Secrets.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Will,Belief,and Expectancy Predictors of Aging

We all know there is a powerful mind-body connection. There are many examples of how our will seems to influence behavior.  From personal research, related to my PhD dissertation titled “The Effect of Locus of Control, Student Expectancy and Teacher Feedback on School Performance”, to my mother losing her will to live after surgery at age 93.  In my research, the major findings were that the belief or expectancy held by the students was the most powerful predictor of school performance on an arithmetic test.
As far as the medical profession goes, we marvel at the clinical trials when the use of a placebo is used as one of the “medications”. Earlier studies were done, in which the patient did not know whether or not he or she was receiving a sugar pill as far as the treatment was concerned.  The results demonstrated that the sugar pill seemed to work.  Of course the explanation was that the person believed they were actually receiving a real medication and that belief, translated in symptom removal.
Currently, the patients are told that they are receiving a placebo.  Okay, what is your guess as to the results when a patient is actually told they were getting a sugar pill with no active ingredients?  If you answered, yes it works even when you are told. You might ask or wonder under what conditions would the sugar pill work? What if I was the subject, would it work for me?
According to an article in the British Medical Journal, a survey of nearly 700 internists and rheumatologist said they prescribe placebos on a regular basis.  They said the most popular placebos used were over-the-counter painkillers and vitamins.   A few of them admitted that they have used sugar pills or saline injections.  Did you ever get a placebo from your physician?
Some current findings include the following:  1.Hotel room attendants were told that their jobs provided a good workout-guess what; they showed significant reductions in weight, blood pressure and body fat. 2.  Patients with your irritable bowel syndrome were given inert pills and told the pills would work via a mind-body process-these patients reported feelings of relief, reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life.3.  Women experiencing hot flashes and menopause were treated with acupuncture, but the needles were place in non accepted therapeutic positions-seven weeks after treatment, fewer women reported hot flashes, compared with subjects who got real acupuncture. 4.  Patients were told that milkshake they were about to drink had 620 calories and it was indulgent.-the gut peptide called ghrelin (which is involved in the feeling of satisfaction after eating) levels fell more than when the patients were told that the milkshake  had 120 calories and was sensible. Consult the January 3, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal for more information.
Okay, more findings are to be presented at a later time.  Are you now convinced of the importance of the mind-body connection, and how easily our mind, belief, and expectancy dictate and impact our body and our physical health?  Are you compromising yourself because of your negative thinking? Are you employing too many defense mechanisms like denial or rationalization to justify your behavior?  Are you making yourself sick?  Maybe you need to see a good psychologist to get your thinking straight.  More to follow.
"Believe that you can do it, under any circumstances. Because if you believe you can, then you really will. That belief just keeps you searching for the answers, then pretty soon you get it."– Wally "Famous" Amos