What Scientific Breakthroughs Can We Expect to Hear About?

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There is no doubt that genetics bring differences, are clearly going to be the breakthroughs but there's other interesting breakthroughs that have come through that just make the picture all the more exciting and more promising. So about 15 years or so, a group of scientists in England discovered genes that move around seretonin, a neuro-chemical in your brain and in your spinal cord. And essentially figured out like any set of genes there were three versions, two longs, two shorts, or a long and a short, and their hypothesis was that these are the genes for resilience.

That if you had two longs you were going to be more resilient, and if you had two shorts you'd be be less resilient. It's a great hypothesis but you need to test it out, and they went to New Zealand and on an island where you could get a few thousand people who are the same age and you knew you could get a hold of their records, you could very quickly decide who had a high stress life, who had a medium stress life and who had a low stress life, and you could take blood from these people and figure out if they had two longs, two shorts or a long and short.

And you found that if they had two longs and they had a stressful life they still did OK. It was almost as though they had a veneer or a shellac on them that prevented them from the toxic effects of the stressful life of having a father that yelled at them or a parent who got divorced or a school that wasn't really as good as another school.

And if you had two shorts, you tended to try to commit suicide six fold more than the rest of the population. So that kind of information starts to not only help psychiatrists recognized who is more resilient and who isn't, not even relying on necessarily the diagnosis just who's going to be able to tolerate this but it gives us more understanding as to the fact that people who are very resilient most probably need a low diet of serotonin in their brain and when stressful things happen, they are used to a low diet and if you need a high diet and you're stressed, you can understand your brain will start to feel bad, you'll start to feel more anxious, rage full, or sad when you don't have enough of it.

Now I think that's going to help parents as they get more information as to which child needs more support, which child doesn't. Even though most mothers could tell you very quickly who's the more resilient child, but I also think it starts to helps us understand the multifacets of having an illness that affects your brain, so it's not only that you might have ADHD

if you're not resilient, you might also really have a worse outcome because you're going to feel every bump in the road when a teacher yells at you, or when you fail a test, or when you're not fit to be on the right team because you're just not paying attention.