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What really struck me as profound in this article was one paragraph in particular.
"We speculate that our brains can compensate for up to a 60 percent loss of pre-Boetzinger cells, but the cumulative deficit of these brain cells eventually disrupts our breathing during sleep. There's no biological reason for the body to maintain these cells beyond the average lifespan, and so they do not replenish as we age."I believe this explains the fallacy of modern medicine. Science seems to find cures for diseases constantly. Very few people nowadays die from Asthma, for example, as ways to mitigate the effects have been discovered. It seems to me, that for every disease that is cured, a new one is 'discovered.' I don't believe this is an accident. Take ADD and ADHD, for example. 10 years ago, there was no such thing. Hyper children were just that: hyper children. Curious about life, and growing at a rapid rate, they are all not equal and some require more attention than others. Some are quite unruly, and others are calm as Hindu cows. Yet today, any time a parent or teacher has a problem with their kids, it seems that medication is the answer. If they are doped 24/7 then they won't get out of control. Is your child not at the top of their class? Well then, perhaps a little bit of prescription drugs MUST be the answer, because we know that all kids learn at EXACTLY the same pace. This is absolute hogwash! If this was never a 'problem' before, then why is it now?
The human body is not meant to live forever. Trying to do so is a futile effort. There is an average human lifespan, and there is our human lifespan. It may be longer or shorter based on thousands of variables, none of which can be accurately predicted. Lung cancer is linked to smoking, so you would think that if you smoke, then you would get lung cancer. Why then, do the vast majority of smokers die from things other than lung cancer? If heart failure & diabetes are linked to obesity, and, according to a recent Brownsville Herald article, 63% of Texans are obese, then why aren't the majority of Texans dying from heart attacks or kidney failures?
New medicine is developed for new problems. Before, if your child was over-weight, you would enroll him in the local baseball league, or perhaps lower the number of nights a week you ordered pizza. But not now! If you kid is fat, he has a 'disease!' And what's the best way to cure a disease? With some new powerful medicine, or perhaps a new-fangled 'fad' diet. How many different 'magic weight-loss' schemes have you heard in just the last week alone? The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and who wouldn't want a piece of that? When one fad fails, another quickly takes its place. At first it was too many sweets, too much cake, too much ice cream. Then came the low-carb lifestyle which was a huge hit. Today, Atkins is on its way out, with many people losing taste for a meat-and-veggie only diet. What is back in its place? Counting calories. Yet America is more 'obese' than ever. Are we doing something wrong, or are we, infact, doing nothing different at all?
Diseases are taking on new classifications. Their definitions are expanding to cover things that were not covered before. For example, if you were classified as a 'binge' drinker 10 years ago, people would have assumed that you and a bottle of Jack get friendly a few nights a week, and you are constantly intoxicated. Not any more. A new definition of binge drinking has been created by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which now classifies binge-drinking as consuming enough to reach a blood alcohol point of .08 or greater. This means if a light weight female goes to a bar one night a month and consumes 2 martinis within an hour, she can be considered a 'binge' drinker! Watch out there Suzie Q!
By the decrease in diseases, and the steadily growing life-expectancy, you would think that we are prospering as a 21st century society. Allergies, which used to affect a large portion of the population now can be cured by taking a pill. The common cold can now be prevented by a quick vaccine offered yearly to anyone who wants it. The shelves in our local drug stores are expanding at an amazing rate, yet watching the news, it would seem that we are at more risk than ever. That more and more people are getting sick. So what's the truth? Are we in some crazy death spiral?
The answer is much simpler than that. We will live until we are mean to die. Our bodies are finite, and so they are not meant to survive past their expiration dates. Lets take a used car for example. You buy an old, used car and it lasts you for a good 5 years. Then one day, the suspension fails. Ok, you say. I’ll just get some new shocks. Problem solved. Then a year later, the air-conditioning unit fails, and so does the fuel pump. Replacing all of those gives your car a new life, for a few more months. Eventually the carburetors need an overhaul, and that gives you another year. But what happens when your engines dies completely? What happens when your electrical system fails? The real question is, would these later problems ever even have been problems if the car hadn't been around for so long?
Nothing lasts forever, and the more time that passes, the more things that can go wrong. There are always exceptions, but for the most part, our lives will stop when they are meant to. Our bodies will fail when the parts reach their expiration dates. The more diseases we cure, the more things will become 'diseases.' So don't worry about the little things in life. That extra hamburger isn't going to give you a heart attack. Once more piece of cake won't make you fat. An extra glass of wine at dinner doesn't mean you’re an alcoholic. Prozac is not the answer to a bad day and Valium won't solve your problems. Taking the two together does not even you out. And if you swim only 40 minutes after you eat, you will not drown.
Enjoy life, be smart, manage your risks, and never, ever listen to commercials. Be yourself and live life by your own rules. You'll end up a lot happier.
and don't forget the sunscreen.