Happenings

By Veronica Fernandez

The past 18 months have been filled with missed and delayed plans, including the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. As we reflect on the past 18 months, it is evident that the need for us all (even Olympic athletes) to prioritize taking care of our mental health received a gold medal in 2021, with special credit due to Simone Biles. She has shown us that our mental health has to be put above our work, our responsibilities, our social media, and yes—even over winning an Olympic gold medal. We’ve learned to stay home if we feel bad, to seek out professional help, and to proactively reach out to those around us who are having a difficult time as well.

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Jonathan Flint (UCLA behavioral geneticist, expert in the genetic determinants of depression and Depression Grand Challenge Executive Committee team member) shared background about the theory of the “warrior gene” in a blog post written for the Oxford University Press. Since the 1990s criminal defense lawyers have tried to argue that a mutation in the “warrior gene” mitigates responsibility for aggressive behavior. Flint highlights a 2021 New Mexico Supreme Court case which definitively ended the argument that a single gene mutation determines overall behavior.

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