By Roberta Conlan
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Extra resources for States of Mind: New Discoveries About How Our Brains Make Us Who We Are
Or they may, because of environmental factors such as upbringing, recognize the drug’s potential for harm and simply decide not to touch it. People who get snared by drugs may not have these kinds of warning signals. The critical point to remember in all of this is that in the dance of life, genes and environment are absolutely inextricable partners. On the one hand, genes supply the rough blueprint for the brain. Then stimulation from the environment, whether it’s light impinging on the retina or a mother’s voice on the auditory nerve, turns genes on and oﬀ, ﬁne-tuning those brain structures both before and after birth.
You begin lifting weights, and after the ﬁrst workout the major result is that your arms ache for several days. This is because you’ve stressed the muscle ﬁbers in your arms. But if you lift enough weight, hit the gym enough times a week, and keep at it long enough, eventually you’ll have bigger muscles. How does that happen? The exercise is a kind of stress to the muscle cells. The cell membrane sends a signal to the nucleus of the muscle cell and SUSCEPTIBILIT Y AND “SECOND HITS” turns on genes that make muscle proteins; these proteins are needed to respond to the stress caused by the muscles’ having to lift unaccustomed weight.
The search for susceptibility genes in mental disorders will be exciting. Finding them will be lifechanging for many. 2 B B S Jerome Kagan Monday’s Child is fair of face, Tuesday’s Child is full of grace, Wednesday’s Child is full of woe, Thursday’s Child has far to go, Friday’s Child is loving and giving, Saturday’s Child works hard for a living, But the Child that is born on the Sabbath Day, Is bonny, and blithe, and good, and gay! Put to the test, this traditional nursery rhyme would be a poor predictor of a child’s personality or temperament.