Chapter 14 and 15

Chapter 14 discusses the effects of war and stress on longevity. War is a very stressful and traumatic situation to be a part of. The results of the Terman study prove that war and traumatic events equivalent to war can have very lasting effects on longevity. The environment in which the individual is in during the war also matters when discussing the impact of war. Individuals who were in more hostile positions and or settings, or were directly affected by the conflict had increased rates of mortality. It makes sense that a person more involved in a war, or has seen a friend or buddy die in combat will be more stressed. In turn, will be more prone to stress-related diseases and increased mortality. The chapter also discusses the importance of genes when talking about stress. Neither genes nor stress alone determines longevity. The two work together and in turn, can give a better idea of longevity. Chapter 15 was more or less a summary of the book. While modern medicine is critical, health is determined by individual pathways. Some individuals live healthier lives, and these healthier pathways lead to longevity. Modern medicine can not cure everything, and there should not be a pill for everything. Sometimes, the individual must live a healthier lifestyle.

About Chapter 14, I have never been to war and never quite experienced anything similar to the trauma level of war. I am fortunate enough to say that so I can’t really speak on how I have dealt with that in the past. This closest relation I have to such trauma is an uncle who is a medic in the Navy. Fortunately, he has been stationed Stateside for the entirety of his service. While I can’t speak personally about these experiences, it would only make sense to me that individuals more traumatized by war would have an increased mortality rate. PTSD and depression are severe mental health issues, and these brave soldiers go to war knowing these implications. I am grateful for their service and grateful they are fighting so I don’t have to.

While I don’t plan on enlisting in the military, I respect anyone willing to sacrifice for the greater good of this country. I hope not to experience a trauma similar to war either. However, if I have family that does one day enlist or is directly affected by war, I hope to be there for them while they go through the stress and trauma of it. War can lead to adverse health behaviors because of the stress, and I hope to be the support system that encourages healthy living in the time of strife. Being that support system can be the difference in a possible friend or family members life.

The epilogue served as a summary/ wrap up of the book. The authors state that many of our problems as a society stem from wrong ideas on health. We focus too much on list and genetics to determine health. Genetics can only give us the history of our family and which tests would be best and what are predictors of certain diseases. However, it is up to the individual to determine, which pathway to take, in regards to their health. Lists do not work because they are overly simplified. In many cases, they present too much data and do not work in the long run. The authors also discuss how Terman did not let his biases navigate his study, but rather stated facts. However, minority groups were not represented in the study. Finally, the epilogue talks about society needing better mental-physical health connection. If we as a community, are more goal oriented and conscientious, then we can become a healthier community. I felt the epilogue was pretty fair and not much to argue with. It would make sense that, if everyone tried to better themselves, health-wise, we would be a healthier community. Lists and genetics are often stressed too much because a lot has to do with the individual themself. While individuals can be predisposed to certain diseases increasing their likelihood of it, the pathway they choose is largely in part their decision. Granted, this is if the individual is provided the resources to choose the healthier pathway.

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