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I have learned, as have all of you, the positive and negative interactions of physical, mental and financial health and security. A close friend of mine quipped money doesn't make you happy, it just makes it easier. It is a powerful truism that without health we have little. In what follows I will briefly discuss a few pertinent health related issues including the areas of bowels, bones and brains.
Each of us in our own microcosmic way reflects the development of our modern species which is thought to have trudged out of the plains of Africa 40 to 50,000 years ago. Their biological and psychological selves experienced many revolutions including more recently agricultural, industrial, digital, cyber, etc. Each caused and continues to cause psychological and physiological stress, or exposure to adverse situations over which we perceive or we have little or no control, on a biological system, the vessel of our body and brain, numerous times older. Understanding these relationships is vital to our present and future health.
This delicate balance between stress and biochemistry can be characterized bio-chemically from our inceptions as constant struggle to maintain a balance between oxidative damage from the formation of free radicals called pro-oxidants and their consumption by antioxidants. Steady supplies of antioxidants are necessary to maintain this balance or oxidative damage accumulates, with resulting disruption of normal physiology (e.g. damage to DNA, lipids, and proteins) and then overt disease. Sleep is a necessary part of the repair processes and that is why I call sleep the center of sanity, that is, the center of our physical and mental sanity. During deep sleep reparative processes take place including and involving the release of growth hormone. The stress system or the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, is thought to be involved in sleep and mood regulation. Accordingly, improving sleep is of concern to many members of our community since insomnia is an exceedingly common problem.