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See Inside December 2007/January 2008

Who Said Quitters Never Win?

If at first you don't succeed, quit—for your future health

Some people stop at nothing to get what they want, persisting in the face of continual hardship. Often seen as a sign of strength, this behavior may also be indicative of future illness, according to a new study.

Psychologists asked 90 adolescent girls about their tendency to hold on to unattainable goals. Over the next year, they found that the girls who said they never gave up had more quickly increasing blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) as compared with the girls who were moderately good at letting go. High levels of CRP often precede the development of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. And although CRP levels are expected to rise over time, the faster rate of increase in people who persevere relentlessly could give them an elevated risk for illness later in life.

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