In a recent teleseminar sponsored by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, researchers shared the following insights gained from current research in neuroscience:
- Somewhere we acquired a belief that genes were self-actualizing; that genes made decisions and all of a sudden the gene would say, “Oh, time for cancer!” and then you would end up with cancer.
- What has been found with epigenetics is that genes are just blueprints.
- Epigenetics is about our beginning to understand who reads the blueprints, who engages the blueprints, and who can modify the blueprints.
- And guess who can read and modify them? Genes are in fact controlled by how we respond to or perceive the world around us.
- There is a tremendous amount of power in the life of an individual to influence the expression of his or her genes.
- The American Cancer Society came out very recently and said that over 60% of the cancers that we see are basically due to lifestyle. You may have the gene but depending on how you live, how you respond, what your belief systems are, the expression of the gene could be modified.
One of our clients – a married guy in his late forties – provides a beautiful illustration of this, only with another disease, Diabetes Type II. A while back he had a sample of his saliva analyzed by a genetic testing service to determine his genetic propensity to be afflicted with 21 major diseases. It turned out that based on his genes he had a way above average probability of 50% of being afflicted with Diabetes Type II. He further had a high genetic propensity for obesity. Indeed the genes for Diabetes Type II and Obesity are linked by the F.T.O. gene, commonly referred to by genetic researches as “The Fatso Gene.” So when our client and his wife got the test results they had a big, hearty laugh because this guy is 5′ 8” tall, weighs a lean 168 lbs and does resistance work in a gym four times a week with his personal trainer, in addition to one-hour bike circuits three times a week around Manhattan.
Given this dude’s lifestyle (and it should come as no surprise that his wife does Yoga three times a week), the odds are virtually Zero that he’ll ever be afflicted with Diabetes Type II or suffer from Obesity. And this doesn’t mean that he and his wife can’t hop over the Brooklyn Bridge once a month – on their bicycles, of course – for a large pizza washed down with a few cold Manhattan Brews at Grimaldi’s.