Sad-sick or Healthy-happy, Final thoughts

Indulge me with one more personal editorial on the Harvard Study on aging. The head of the study George Valliant, although trained as a psychoanalyst, bluntly declares that "Freud vastly overestimated the importance of childhood." After reading many articles on the study it was clear that a great deal of emphasis was put on the importance of discovering whether the subjects considered their childhood experience as being among the ‘cherished’ or ‘loveless’. Fact after fact was based firmly on the premise that cherished children were successful in almost all categories. There was a clear connection between success and a happy childhood. But, the greatest surprise (and perhaps no surprise

Sick-sad or Well-happy Part 2

Can you imagine reading a full-page ad in the newspaper saying that a major scientific discovery has been made that will extend healthy living by 10 to 15 years? For a mere $19.95 the ‘secret remedy’ is yours. When the package arrives the instructions simply say to reconnect with as many friends as possible and start making a concerted effort to create more genuine relationships. Would you demand a refund? The Harvard Study on aging would indicate that a simple thing like making friendships is better than the best medicine that science has[CM1] to offer. Now this requires more than jumping on Facebook and sending friend requests. This means developing deep personal interactive relatio

Sad-sick or Well-healthy Part 1

Have you been hearing about the Harvard Study on aging recently? It is back in the news and on the talk show circuit. It originated in 1937 to follow the aging process of 237 Harvard students (males in their sophomore year). Later, disadvantaged youths from inner-city Boston were added and then women. Creating diversity in the study enlarged the scope. George Vaillant, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the study for the past 35 years, set out to determine the factors that resulted in ‘happy-well’ or ‘sad-sick’ Elders. The participants that are alive today are in their 80’s and 90’s. The seven key indicators were: education, alcohol abuse, smoking, marria

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