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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.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Resilience and DNA

An article in the November 30, 2014 edition of the New York Times brings to mind the Nature-Nurture argument. Simply put, is man more or less controlled by his nature or DNA [Machiavelli, John Locke] versus nurture- the conditioning within society [Rousseau]?   More recently, the nature idea was put in place in the 30s with Nazism and their supposedly superiority of race.

In this article, the question of whether or not positive interventions like preschool helps all children equally. In reality, some children seem more delicate, and appear to have it more difficult if exposed to stress and deprivation, but do better when given a lot of support and care. Others, it appears seem to be more resilient to the negative aspects of their environment and appear not to benefit much from positive experiences and support.  Research is attempting to differentiate which children should be given help and which children should not be given assistance. This has implications for state, local and federal funding. Who would argue to give assistance to children if they do not benefit from it?

 The research, in question, was designed to determine and identify which children are more susceptible to both negative and positive interventions. This research looked at the genetic makeup of children. Research findings suggested that people who carry certain variations of short alleles of the gene 5-HTTL PR [this gene transports serotonin] has been linked to depression. While long alleles of the dopamine receptor gene, DRD 4 have been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnoses. And children who carry either or both of these genes appear to be the most adversely affected by negative experiences and seem to benefit most from supportive ones. While children, who don’t have either of these genes, seem relatively immune to the effects of both supportive and unsupportive environments.

The question: Should our society seek to identify by DNA these most susceptible children and target them with special programs?

Watching the movie Hidalgo, while on the elliptical, got me thinking about this particular article. In the movie, Frank T. Hopkins, played by Vigo Mortensen, rode his Mustang Hidalgo in a 3000 mile horse race against pure blooded Arabian horses. In the movie, the theme was that the bloodline of the Bedouin riders horses were superior and unequaled [nature]. However, Hopkins challenged that notion and talked about the will of man [nurture], and the will of the horse.
As an equestrian, we always talk about both the breeding of the horse and the heart of the horse. That distinction refers to the characteristics of that horse, but also the bonding that takes place between man and animal. And we sometimes think that the horse is either going to protect us [nurture] or run until it drops because that horse doesn’t want to let us down.

For me, I believe there is an interaction and relationship between nature and nurture. I have a younger brother, [5 years] and younger sister [10 years]. They are highly intelligent and competitive, especially when it comes to education and career. My brother is a physician and my sister a CEO headhunter of information technology. We all had the same parents, actually attended the same elementary, high school and universities [Wayne State and the University Michigan]. One could make a strong argument for DNA similarities.

However, I excel in sports and health and am in superior physical condition compared to both of my siblings. I don’t know how much variation in the DNA there is between us, but I do know mental toughness differentiates us. I am not ready, at this juncture, to rely solely on DNA differences to start subgrouping either people or children.


Tony, Randall, and I ran the 10 mile trail run event on New Year’s Day. Tony, believes his completion time was similar to last year. This year’s run was a little longer and more challenging than in the previous 5 years. I’m not convinced that I ran faster than last year, but I do believe I ran well and am pleased to start the New Year In my present condition.
As I say, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating for 2015.


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