Chapter 9: GENETICS
Genetics is a hot-button topic in informed circles these days, and the cutting edge of science points to an imminent paradigm shift in thinking. More and more biologists, doctors, and informed consumers are coming to realize that genetics play a limited supporting role in determining health. Unfortunately, huge shifts in understanding take years to become established by the general academic community, so genetics is still being taught in schools.
It is an attractive theory, genetics, in that it is something we can map and control. A linear approach to health, wouldn’t that be great? This is the main reason that so much stock has been placed into genetics, the thought that we can identify genes that cause disease. If the human genome can be mapped and disease-causing genes identified than we can take steps to control or stop the diseases altogether right? How is that working out so far? We already know which genes “cause” breast cancer, yet it still affects thousands of women each year.
I am aware of a patient who had a double mastectomy after learning that she did indeed carry the dreaded breast cancer gene. She went on to develop cancer in other parts of her body, including liver and lung. This is the problem with putting your faith in genetics, it is misplaced trust.
Genes do not cause Cancer, so removing tissues from the body is not a good way to go about prevention, in my opinion. The majority of diseases, like cancer, can be contributed to environmental factors. The new train of thought is that genetics only account for 5% of health outcomes, yet millions of dollars are being poured into this type of research annually. Why? Because there is money to be made. If a so-called disease-causing gene can be identified, you can make money developing a drug or a procedure to specifically fight that gene. The market driven health care market that has developed in the past century is pushing our research dollars towards profitable, tangible procedures and medications…that turn a profit.
This is the wrong approach. If modern medicine were truly concerned with the health of the consumer, it would focus on epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of how environmental factors affect genetics and in turn health factors. This lion’s share (95%) of factors determining health should be the brunt of research, but there is a huge problem-there isn’t a lot of money in prevention.
All of the intended design concepts are addressing environmental factors. Sleep, exercise, diet, nervous system supply, and positive thinking are all important components…and they all share a commonality in that they don’t turn a 2000% profit as many medications do. So there is the crux of the matter. Epigenetics, environmental factors, and prevention take a back seat in the medical model because they are not profitable.
Do you need proof? Consider the following: In the United States, African Americans are considered high-risk for diabetes. This is generally attributed to genetic factors. This is confusing to me because the rate of diabetes in Africa is much lower. In fact there have been studies done on recent immigrants that shows how the instances of diabetes increases when they move from other countries to America. Can someone explain this to me please? Did their genes change on the plane ride from Africa to America? I was under the impression that significant genetic change takes thousands of years! The only reasonable explanation is that genetics do not predispose us to disease to the degree that is advertised by modern medicine. Instead, our daily habits create changes in our body that encourage the expression of health or disease.
You are not genetically pre-programmed to die. Think about that for a moment. This is the current mindset of genetics! You are born with a genetic predisposition that you cannot escape. Your only hope is drugs and surgery. FALSE! If you are interested in learning more about epigenetics I suggest reading Biology of Belief, by Bruce Lipton, PhD.
You may be wondering how Chiropractic can help with the prevention of disease. Let me be very clear in stating that Chiropractic does not treat disease. That being said, however, I believe that the adjustment does have potential to effect epigenetics. Studies have shown that post adjustment patients have increased TNF, WBC, and that HRV is increased as well. If that is true then doesn’t it stand to reason that the adjustment is able to effect ALL areas of physiology, including DNA production by individual cells?
If you would like to learn more about the importance of Chiropractic and how it effects overall well being please follow this link: Chapter 5: Nervous System Supply