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Holten: North Dakota is the testosterone state

Kevin Holten

Do you know what testosterone is? You should, because we have more of it in North Dakota than any other state in the nation.

There was quite a bit before, but now that the oil boom is here, it's overflowing like a backyard pool filled with two elementary schools and the Minnesota Vikings.

Our testosterone levels are off the charts. Of course, the fact that there are 34,000 males to every female might have something to do with it. That's why guys working in the Oil Patch can't wait to go home or take a vacation, not so that they can meet a single female, but just so they can see one.

Of course, testosterone is a steroid hormone found not only in males but also in females. Except that the plasma concentration of testosterone in males is approximately seven to eight times greater than it is in females. That's why males have more muscle and bone mass, plus more hair growth, on average.

But testosterone does a whole lot more than you think it does. For example, your thinking abilities and general sense of well-being, including your mood, energy level and sense of vitality, plus sexual drive or libido, are all affected by testosterone.

In addition, testosterone creates muscle cells and causes them to grow in size and strength. Plus it reduces body fat, particularly in the midsection and chest and it helps prevent the normal bone destruction of aging and actually improves bone density, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

More importantly, testosterone influences cardiovascular risk factors indirectly through its effect on the amount of fat in your body, and there is evidence it benefits the heart directly. It may even help open the coronary arteries, and possibly improve cardiac function in people with heart disease and heart failure.

That's all great. But I still think that we need to export some of our testosterone, perhaps by pipeline, to other states or certainly certain areas of California, like West Hollywood or the bay area, where they might be able to use a boost. Then we can eliminate a few of what I refer to as our "testosterone-influenced episodes."

You know what I'm talking about. It works like this: You're standing on a street corner in downtown Dickinson when a sleeveless, leather-vested pirate pulls up to a stop sign on an obnoxiously loud Harley Davidson motorcycle. While sitting there he revs the engine to maximum RPM's two, three or 10 times and then looks about to see if anyone notices. Once the intersection is clear, he loudly goes from zero to 65 mph in 2.3 seconds and then circles back to pump up his chest and watch the hordes of females that gather to worship the pavement he spins his tires on, or not. That is an example of a "testosterone-influenced (albeit low intelligence) episode."

Another example is basically the same episode, except in this case you substitute a jacked-up diesel pickup truck for the Harley and the driver, rather than dressed in a leather vest and head scarf, is wearing a cap backwards and sunglasses, in the dark.

Of course, if there were one or two cases of this per day, it'd be no big deal. But it's happening on too many corners in too many parts of town.

Several theories have been proposed about what causes these types of episodes. Biologically, it has been found that unusual levels of the hormone, testosterone, increases the susceptibility of males to develop these types of behaviors.

Numerous studies have also shown that emotional or physical abuse occurring in one's childhood increases the risk of a person developing this type of exhibitionism. Plus, documented cases have shown that traumatic brain injury (TBI) can precede this type of behavior.

I'm going to go with the elevated testosterone levels as the cause, at least here in the Oil Patch and again suggest that we build a pipeline, perhaps right next to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and pump some of this stuff out, lest none of us live in peace or get a good night's sleep.

Because, as Dwight L. Moody, the American evangelist and publisher once said, "We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell or show anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine."

Holten is the manager of The Drill, which is a part of Forum News Service.

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