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12:33 AM on 01/02/2011
The residents in Wilson Acres II in Lakeland Florida have been asking for help
for 15-20 years due to the fact their homes are being used as a pollution wall
for 2 major corporations. We are coming down with Cancer or stress related
illnesses due to the vibrations and noise and diesel and when we get cancer
we can't sell our homes due to these companies being allowed to grow with out
any concern for the residents that are suffering. We keep asking our congress
men how many have to die or get baker acted or get cancer before some one will
step in and help. We are still waiting for an answer. All we have asked for
in a decibel monitor to be put up so we can show others how illegal the sound is.
We are invisible to everyone but doctors and drug companies. I hope the huffing ton post
will follow up.
everything is illusion
12:53 AM on 01/02/2011
My sympathies......but the people keep electing GOP governors so this is what can be expected.
No death panels
There's no man with a trumpet. Only me.
12:01 AM on 01/02/2011
Noone ever said mapping the human genome was going to cure most diseases. It was about creating a tool to study differences in DNA between people who have a disease and those that don't. Identifying those mutations can help explain some diseases and lead to treatments like gene therapy or monoclonal antibodies that attack a mutation or a protein produced by the mutation. It is unknown if new mutations acquired after birth can be passed on to offspring--that's just theoretical. Grandma would have had to get the mutation before her childbearing years were over and it would have to be in her eggs. Obviously not smoking, eating well, exercising, etc. would be beneficial to anyone-that's not news. What bothers me is quacks selling supplements, detox programs and the like to vulnerable people and justifying it with misinterpretations like this one.
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08:38 AM on 01/02/2011
Thank you. I've tried to say something similar but appear to have been mod erated.
11:47 PM on 01/01/2011
This whole supposition is suspect. Why, for instance can two individual smokers consume a pack a day, one dies at 55 with lung cancer or copd , the other lives to 90? w why did my vege friend keel over with a heart attack at 56, ant the another who professes to has never eaten vegetables in his life is the picture of health.
Alex Zhang
01:45 AM on 01/02/2011
The article just says that we are not merely genetically programmed to be such and such. Your friends were no doubt harming their bodies and raising the risks of developing ailments. However, some get lucky and others, not so much. It is possible that your "vege friend" didn't have a long life expectancy to begin with or did something else that harmed his/her health. Also, there is such thing as nutritional profiling. Some people just do very well with meat and others with only vegetables.
Tax High Incomes!
02:03 AM on 01/02/2011
Health is not black and white. The statistical evidence is that you are much more likely to die at a younger age if you smoke, not that you will die at younger age if you smoke. Smokers' death ages form a bell curve, just as to non-smokers' death ages, only the smoker's bell curve is offset to the left (earlier death age).
11:03 PM on 01/01/2011
The expectation that unravelling the human genome would "revolutionize" medicine was unrealistic from the start.

We are witnessing the failures of the excesses of bio-medical reductionism on a grand scale and bio-medical reductionism experts would be very well served by a strong dose of good old fashioned humility.

We need holistic and systems theory paradigms in medicine. The era of the microscope has run its miraculous course and must now yield to a new era of much more use of "macrosopes".

Also caring must stand in equal partnership with the hubris of curing.

Dr.Rick Lippin
12:55 AM on 01/02/2011
I wish someone would come and do a study of our little neighborhood. The facts
are in. We are getting Cancer and mental and emotional issues but we are being
ignored. We are a fantastic control group for what pollution can do to your house
and health. Yet due to the fact 2 big corperations were given the go ahead to
expand and they hire lots of people I guess having a few residents die or come
down with cancer is just the price we have to pay for the ecomnic wealth these
2 big companies contribute.
It's not NICE to fool MOTHER NATURE....
07:52 AM on 01/02/2011
None of this will happen until the allopathic medical industry is leveled in the playing field by the obvious successes of a variety of alternative practices and methods. The medical industry is far and away funded financially and supported corporately in a way that common sense and true integrative health care is but a glimmer for a few educated and courageous people. It is beginning to change in my lifetime, but we have a long way to go, particularly with the backlashes of such things as "personalized" "medicine" and the insidious move towards Codex. The sentiments of your post are much appreciated, but the answer to true health will never come from allopathy as it is practiced now and has been for decades.
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08:28 AM on 01/02/2011
Allopathic? Whenever I've seen the term it's used pejoratively. I'm guessing this is no exception.
light as a photon, heavy as tungsten.
10:43 PM on 01/01/2011
We're not only talking about food in saying, "we are what we eat."
10:33 PM on 01/01/2011
I couldn't get past the following line: "...the authors lament the lack of stronger connections between genetic makeup and the biggest disease epidemic of our time (obesity and diabetes)..."

Both obesity and diabetes are self inflicted ailments that are totally controllable through behavior modification (it used to be called discipline, or self control). It's like calling a tattoo a type of skin cancer.

Who knows, maybe the rest of the article was about that exact issue...
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05:38 AM on 01/02/2011
When talking about diabetes, please stipulate between Type I and II's. Adults suffer from both, but Type I has nothing to do with overeating and it just gets old being grouped with Type II's (the "epidemic".) Type I cannot be prevented by any means. It used to be more commonly known as Juvenile Diabetes.
08:23 PM on 01/01/2011
I found the concept of epigenome fascinating. It makes a lot of sense and must help explain the rise in obesity and disease. Processed foods are fairly new, so now that several generations have grown up with them, there must be a cumulative effect. Combined with GMO products, pesticides, antiobiotic and hormone use in animals over the years,artificial sugars, flavors and colors it becomes even more worrisome. If you include all the chemicals that are in body lotions, shampoos, cosmetics, today, our bodies are full of toxic elements.

I try to buy organic whenever possible, and when buying meat, choose antibiotic free, hormone free. It's more expensive, so I just use less meat and eat more legumes (which is healthier anyway). I also cook almost all our meals at home so I consciously know what goes into my family's bodies.

In the New Year, I'm planning on adding more whole grains to my kids' meals.
J David Auner
The 3rd Amendment Rules - timeless.
09:32 AM on 01/02/2011
Wait for more studies. The rising dementia/diabetes/obesity/adenocarcinoma of breast and lung incidence appears to be related to change in plastic containers or industrial oils in 1985. Autism on the other hand doesn't follow the same pattern and might be previous generation's epigenetic histone changes with some genetic influence. Where your grandmothers lived,what they ate/chemicals ingested or isotope exposure may show up in later generations. JAMA Dec 22-29 article on Cowden syndrome is an eye opener if replicated of disease syndrome features with normal DNA in 10 % of sufferers. Maybe the grandchildren of stewardesses from the 50's and 60's airline boom deserve some attention to DNA or other non-DNA problems.
Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!
11:00 PM on 01/02/2011
Legumes have tons of antioxidants, so keep up the good work!
07:36 PM on 01/03/2011
Just to add to J David Auner's post, autism has been linked to monosodium glutamate which has been around since 1909 and is very pervasive in processed foods. It has no purpose other than making the consumer want more, and therefore increasing product consumption.

A study was done showing that perservatives and food colorings can increase hyperactivity...

Whole grains are no doubt good, however they can be better. All seeds, nuts, and grains have phytic acid in them which blocks the absorption of minerals. This effect can be diminished greatly by soaking grains overnight(s) and if you have the time and the know-how sprouting is best.

I was diagnosed with IBS/gall bladder issues of which my mother a year later had to have one removed. It took about 3 months after changing my diet to soaked grains, veggies, nuts, grass fed meat and fish that my IBS went away and I have not had a problem for over a year and a half.
08:00 PM on 01/01/2011
Thanks for giving this some exposure.
It always seemed unlikely to me that most differences in disease resistance were due to differences between the human genes, which are the 99.6% the same between one individual human and another, and not due to differences in the bacteria we carry, which can differ from each other 15% and still be considered the same species.
When bacteria are put under heat or drying or chemical stress they sprout hypodermic-like processes and start swapping plasmids (the rings they keep their DNA in) with every cell in reach including ours, like kids swap songs.

There are more people of a given age alive now than ever before, and that in each age bracket more individuals are healthy and active. This is largely due to public health and vaccine initiatives that control pathogens we recognize.
I believe as we develop more sophisticated techniques for detecting the life that is eating us, we will find that many "autoimmune" and cancers diseases are in fact viral and bacterial diseases where the bacteria or viruses have recruited the cell.
Evidently telomeres can be regenerated, so I am betting the constant ongoing onslaught from bacteria, fungi and other microbiota that are busy eating us and injecting us with their DNA in the process is the major cause of aging.
Two 'alves of coconut!
10:24 PM on 01/01/2011
Nah. Aging happens because the machine's only good for about 90 years, maybe another 10-15 years on top of that with careful babying, but if you roll over the big nine-oh on the oh-dam-iter, you're getting pretty close to the end of the road. 

They say it's not the years, it's the miles, and I'll buy into that, if you're under a lot of stress, it's literally going to take the life out of you. Lines on the mirror, lines on your face, they pretended not to notice, they were caught up in the race, and what a race it is, these days, and it's probably a small miracle that more people don't just keel over with their eyes rolled back in their heads on the job these days. But, as people try to eat better, sleep more, and do the things that let the body sort of repair itself, like, take it easy, and good nutrition gains more and more of center stage, and people stop doing all the drugs and drinking and chain smoking and tailgating and all the other bad habits that'll kill you long before it's your time, and don't treat the doctor's office like it's the principal's office, longevity statistics are showing some positive gains. 

That having been said, there's still only so much that the world of medicine can really do for you, after the fact. If you ran yourself like a rental car for the first 4 decades of your life, there's not much they can do during your 5th decade except call a tow truck. Some things are irreversible.
12:38 AM on 01/02/2011
Hmm interesting article and interesting response. Re diet, keep in mind that diet has changed tremendously and for the worse. Our dependence on mostly refined carbs and dairy products are harmful to many, many people and those with neuro conditions such as autism are the canaries in the coal mine.
07:49 PM on 01/01/2011
Interesting! I took an online class from Harvard and the professor actually studied epigenetics. The best way to reduce your risk of disease is to eat properly. Most people really don't know how to do that. Even people with above average intelligence don't know the ins and outs of nutrition. I wrote an article on my blog that discusses the core principles of improving health. Check it out and let me know if it helps you! Here it is ->

Happy new year!
07:38 PM on 01/01/2011
"That means if your grandmother ate too much sugar, or smoked, or was exposed to mercury from too much sushi, the genetic modifications she incurred from this exposure could affect you. Her epigenome would carry an increased risk of disease that could be passed down from generation to generation. Interestingly, the Darwinian and Lamarckian worldviews are intersecting in 2010."

This shows a clear misunderstanding of Lamarckianism...which holds that use and disuse of features during ones lifetime leads to adaptive changes. This is merely the inheritance of mutations triggered through environmental factors that are irrelevant to the causative agent. Did the mutation encourage a "taste" for sushi, tolerance of the mercury, a capacity to smoke even more, or an affinity to eat Cap'n Crunch? No. It produces random (at least related to the "trauma") mutations in the genome.

Lamarkians would suggest that these acts would have direct effects on the behavior or morphology of the organisms. 

And all of these mutagenic effects will, if not subjected to medical interventions, likely reduce the fitness of the carriers. Those will be subject to damage and loss of the sex cells that carry them, spontaneous abortion, miscarriage, illness or death...which impacts reproductive success. That's precisely what Darwin argued...Natural Selection.
08:48 AM on 01/02/2011
No! You are describing classic Watson-Crick genetics. Epigenetics is *not* mutation of the DNA--as implied by the word: "epi"=="over" "genetics". What you're saying sounds reasonable, but you are not familiar with this new revolution in genetics. Epigenetics refers to changes that operate outside of--above--the DNA, that not only modify the expression of the genome of the organism, but that are also potentially inheritable--*without* changes to the base pairs in the DNA. There was a "Nova" program on the topic a few years ago. You can probably find it online. Trust me, it's *really* fascinating.
07:00 PM on 01/01/2011
"...other than in single gene disorders likes Down's syndrome, your genes don't determine your fate."

So much ignorance packed into a little capsule, I hardly know where to start.

Down syndrome, no s in this country, is a whole chromosome away from "normal", not merely a gene. There are many, many genes involved, no single one. And as it happens, even in the case of Down Syndrome, your chromosomes don't determine your fate any more than your genes do. It's all down to us and what we do with them.
11:18 PM on 01/01/2011
I am glad someone else noticed the mistake about Down Syndrome. It makes it hard to trust the rest of the article when the author can't even get such a simple thing right - makes me think he doesn't really know much about genetics.
06:38 PM on 01/01/2011
I am most drawn to your comment that we are only as healthy as our gut bacteria. From my past history I think that is where my "problems" lie. The "traditional" GI Dr. doesn't see it that way but I agree with you and many of your comments in this regard. I am in southern Connecticut near New York and was wondering if you have any Doctors that you respect who think in a similar way you can recommend?
08:08 PM on 01/01/2011
I have recently been dealing with GI issues with a family member and moved from a traditional GI doctor to a holistic doctor (Dr. Brunowski in Westport, CT) who ran an IGG blood test. Instead of getting to the root of the problem, the GI doctor just tried to medicate the problem away. The IGG test showed a slew of allergies, including the most common (gluten, dairy). I've been removing foods from his diet and he's already starting to feel better. I've also gone to a holistic nutritionist in Wilton, CT.
06:21 PM on 01/01/2011
But it is true that too tight jeans can affect your ability to reproduce.
It's called Inverted Totalitarianism
06:20 PM on 01/01/2011
Terrific post!

Most ailments are the result of improper care of our bodies. Most modern medicine simply introduces a second "wrong" in an effort to "make a right." While those medicines and procedures may be necessary to save our lives, we seem too focused on treatment rather than understanding the causes of illness and preventing them.
05:29 PM on 01/01/2011
Dear Dr. Hyman,

Let me congratulate you on an insightful review of the current field of genomic medicine. I would like to introduce you to my team’s work, presented this July to the Payor Oncology group.

The currently perceived failure of genomic medicine can be explained because we’re trying to map the universe using Galileo’s telescope when the field of genomic medicine requires the use of a Hubbell telescope, i.e. next generation sequencing. New, powerful sequencing tools now available can reveal the genome, epigenome, nutrigenome, microbiome and exposome cell-by-cell and person-by-person. Exciting times are truly ahead.

Howard Urnovitz