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Genes? Curly Hair and Heart Disease

Nancy Neithercut

If your eyes are blue, it is because of your genes. If your hair is curly, same thing. There would be no heart disease without genes, nor would there be any heart health. There would be no you without genes! Some genes are considered ‘dictator genes’, like eye color, curly hair, or the unique shape of your nose. However, health depends mostly on ‘committee genes’: meaning which of your genes are expressed, and which are ‘turned off’, and the infinitely complex symphony of all these genes working together. Scientists looked at 16,757 earthworm genes, turning each one off or on, one by one, to find which genes controlled weight gain, and found there were 417 genes that directly affect weight. How these genes work over time effecting each other is wildly complex. So not all genes are biochemically expressed ALL the time, they can be dormant. Gene expression is based on environment, including food! Dr. Dean Ornish found, when proving that early stage prostate cancer was reversible, that in three months on a no oil plant based diet, the expression of over 500 genes changed, either turning them on or off, which ever led to better health outcomes. So genes do matter. If many people eat the same disease promoting diet, they will have different diseases, but if they consume a health promoting diet, all will improve their health. When people move from a country with low obesity rates to a Westernized country, their disease and obesity rates are the same as their adopted country within only 15 years, …did their genes change on the airplane? No! they adopt the diet and lifestyle habits of their adopted country, as well as their diseases. The majority of cancer research is based on the genetic theory of causation, and most cell biologists believe that this is the cause. Researchers and the head of National Cancer Institute are committed to this theory. The NCI funded The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) with the goal to identify and catalog all mutations within DNA that lead to cancer. However, the outcomes were not as predicted. Researchers thought that sequencing data would show orderly process involving 3-12 genes that caused a specific type of cancer, but instead what they found was frightening. There was an enormous random collection of mutations that differed between the same types of cancers, from person to person, and from one cancer site to metastasized cancer sites in the same person. (Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer by Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D)

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