TED Talks Worth Talking About – Dean Ornish

Posted on April 27, 2008


Dr. Dean Ornish shares new research that shows how adopting healthy lifestyle habits can affect a person at a genetic level. For instance, he says, when you live healthier, eat better, exercise, and love more, your brain cells actually increase. And new findings show that a healthier lifestyle can turn off disease-provoking genes and turn on the good ones.

This 3:35 minute talk is quick and to the point.

We can actually change our genes by making new ones, or by changing our lifestyles; and these changes can be powerful and dynamic. We can increase brain cells by chocolate, tea, blueberries, alcohol (moderate), stress management and cannabinoids (found in marijuana). We can decrease brain cells by saturated fat, sugar, nicotine, opiates, cocaine, alcohol (excessive), chronic stress.

Our genes are not our fate, and if we make these changes, [?] we can actually change how our genes are expressed.


I like this, for it gives us yet another reason (not necessarily proof) to reject fatalistic, deterministic worldviews and philosophies. There is a blessing in discipline and obedience, and the relationship, yet again, between the tangible and the intangible (that is our bodies, and how we actually feel and think and emote) is greatly iterative. They inform each other, influence each other, and not only our genes, but even our realities could possibly be different and better for those who engage in disciplined thought and behavior.

So, what about the person who simply surrenders to a fatalistic determinism that says, this is all there is and there’s nothing I can do about it? That person, ultimately lives in the absence of hope. That person does not believe. That person cannot envision.

Perhaps, then, there really is only one option in life; that is, for an abundant kind of a life. That option is the option of hope, belief — to vision what can be, and to have the discipline and passion to get there.

To cease striving is to begin a slow death.

Posted in: Culture, TED