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How to Live a Long Life

Don't die early - We may not be able to live forever, but there's no reason we need to die young. Many US children face a terrible burden of stressors that can harm the development of their brains and nervous systems. These stressors can lead to health problems and diseases throughout their lives, ultimately causing some to die earlier than they would otherwise.

Sometimes people think you're dead when you're not: After a car crash in 1983, Rom Houbens seemed to be in a coma, but he was actually paralyzed. He knew about everything going on around him but couldn't communicate. Over 20 years later, Neuroscientists have discovered that his brain is still functioning normally.

He has now learned out to type messages on a computer screen. In the November 23rd edition of the Telegraph, Allan Hall quotes Houbens as saying that when he woke up after the accident, "I screamed, but there was nothing to hear. I became a witness to my own suffering as doctors and nurses tried to speak with me until they gave up all hope.

"I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me: It was my second birth. All that time I just literally dreamed of a better life. Frustration is too small a word to describe what I felt."

Meanwhile, epidemiologist David W. Brown found that children who were exposed to six or more "adverse childhood experiences" had double the risk of premature death compared to children who had not suffered these experiences. On average, the children at highest risk eventually died at age 60, compared to low-risk children who lived to age 79.

These childhood experiences included undergoing verbal or physical abuse, having a battered mother and witnessing domestic violence, living in a household with substance abuse or mental illness, having an incarcerated household member or having parents who separated or divorced.

Brown says, "Our hope is that, as a result of this research, child maltreatment and exposure to childhood traumatic stress in its various forms will be more widely recognized as a public health problem. It is important to understand that consequences to childhood trauma can extend over an individual

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