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What can your genes do for you?

Genes, what can you expect from them?

Saul Yudelowitz BSc (Hons)

Gene therapy has become more popular over the last few years due to advances in research, leading to an increase in knowledge. One of the issues that most people donít choose to remember when reading research papers is that the funding has to come from somewhere. So, next time you read a journal, look at who has funded the research and see if, in your opinion of course, its ethical that lets say a drug company making a pill that would effect the gene expression has produced research to say that you should go out and purchase their product. There is so much research out at the moment saying that they have found the gene for this disease and that ailment etc. This just goes to show one of the major flaws of the modern medical approach, the focus is on pathophysiology and not physiology.

Not all research out there is flawed; there is research that shows how genes respond. In a short and simple manner I can explain to you that your genes respond to their internal and external environment. So if you go and eat cheap fast food that has a high calorie and low nutrient value you will get you genes to express a disliking to this and ultimately you will predispose your self to some form of chronic disease in the future. It really is not the fault of your genes. If you are old enough you will remember that it used to be called junk food not fast food.

Your genes do many things and one function is to take the amino acids from the protein you eat and code them in a specific manner that literally makes you, you. Below is a well accepted physiological change by the dorsal root horn of the spinal cord to chronic pain stimulation. There is a change in the gene expression that ultimately makes the patient more sensitive to pain. This is an example of a change by the genes due to a change in the environment.

Pathophysiology of neuropathic pain involves peripheral and central nerves. Sustained activity in Type III and IV primary afferents leads to a release of excitatory amino acids and neuropeptides in the dorsal horn. These neurochemicals lower the firing threshold for the primary sensory afferents. In the presence of certain neurotransmitters, secondary dorsal horn neurons become hyper responsive because of excitatory amino acids. GABA is the bodyís natural way to combat this however if this situation becomes chronic long lasting changes result from oncogene activation from strong nociceptive stimulus. Oncogenes as c-fos enter the nucleus of the neuron and regulate gene activity.

This article is to encourage you to think. The next time you are told that you have a genetic predisposition to this or that disease; you also have a genetic predisposition to many different forms of health. Itís up to you to create the environment to allow your genes to code for health. Think of this as an additional point.

We are as healthy as the food we eat and the environment we live in. The food we eat is as healthy as the food it eats and the environment it lives in!

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