Changing your body, habits, genes and life - epigenetics 
A update Review
By Walter Sorochan

Posted August 26, 2014  Disclaimer   The information provided below is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to either directly or indirectly give medical advice or prescribe treatment.  

Two Canadian researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Moshe Szyf, a molecular biologist and geneticist and Michael Meaney, a McGill neurobiologist, attended a conference in Spain, in 1992. They met at a bar in Madrid and talked about a new revolutionary idea in genetics: What if diet, chemicals, certain experiences like child neglect, drug abuse or other severe stress could also set off changes to the DNA inside the neurons of a person’s brain, thereby evolving changes in behavior or appearance?  That question turned out to be the basis of a new biological science, behavioral epigenetics.

This article explores the new science and the role environment has in activating the DNA to turn good switches on and bad switches off that affect your body and your way of life. 

An example of DNA switch:
dna2a

We have been brainwashed into believing that we inherit most of our good and bad genes [ DNA ] and we are stuck with these the rest of our lives.  The traditional belief system or dogma said that if your parents were overweight or obese, had cancer, or diabetes, then you would probably also have these diseases. Buchen: nurturing babies 2010    But this may not true any more! 

"You are not controlled by your genetic makeup.  Instead, your genetic readout [which genes are turned "on" and which are turned "off"] is primarily determined by your thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions!"  Androite: Switching fat off 2013   Gabriel-Method-Revolutionary-DIET  Mercola: dogmas & changing DNA 2012 Dashwood: Epigentics: controling DNA 2010   Mithers: weight loss is in head 2007

Epigenetics is the powerful way that food, environment, thoughts and lifestyle impact on our genes and cause the genes to change how they work [ but not change the genes themselves ]. 

In case you need to refresh the parts of a human cell, here is an imaginary cell and its nucleus, chromatin and DNA:

nucleus 2

Behavioral epigenetics is the study of how signals from the environment trigger molecular biological changes that modify what goes on in brain cells. It examines the role of epigenetics in shaping animal (including human) behavior.  It seeks to explain how nurture shapes virtually everything that occurs during the life-span [e.g., social-experience, diet and nutrition, and exposure to toxins]. 

The videos below explain how epigenetics works. 

What is epigenetics  - Bruce H. Lipton: 1:00 mn.

1 Minute Healing

Video: Dr. Wayne Dyer & Dr. Bruce Lipton - Power of the Mind 7:28 mns long:

Source: Social consciousness

Bruce Lipton how science of biology and genetics works;  Length 1:08:52 mns.
 
Bruce Lipton Training

So far so good.  If you viewed the videos, you should have some understanding of the biochemistry of science behind epigenetics.  The illustration below shows that there are two phases to epigenetics.  The first phase is the environment that includes many things like food, toxins, socializing, exercise, climate changes, and other activates that stimulate the cell membrane. 

The second phase begins with the cell membrane [light blue color] receiving the environmental stimulus, thereafter sending a signal to the nucleus [ purple color ] which stores DNA.  The DNA synthesizes special proteins that, in turn, change / adjust protein shape and length.  The protein [ made up of amino acids ] is the bridge between genes and traits and is the switch that turns the gene(s) on/off and arouses the mind or belief perception to select a new behavior; the example below of the obese man thinking thin.  This 'think thin' perception is a new behavior that rewrites genes into a RNA copy [ but does not change the DNA ], changing the psychic awareness of a fat man being perceived as a new thin man in the mind and cell! The fat cell loses fat.   "Mind over matter!"

epigbehave  

You may have some confusion about what you viewed because what you were taught is different from the new biology science. 

The old beliefs or dogmas about heredity and genetics:  The old model has a cell with a nucleus and cytoplasm inside an outer cover or membrane skin.  The traditional belief has been that the nucleus is the 'control' center of the cell and perceived as commanding all cell functions.  Genes select genes. For over a hundred years we have accepted that the genetic code changes slowly, through the processes of random mutation and natural selection. This is what we learned in our science and medical classes. 

Another approach to understanding dogmas and epigenetics by Bruce Lipton: length 42:41 mns.

Lipton: dogmas

New Belief System:  Epigenetics perceives heredity differently from the past:

1. The cell membrane or skin is the control center of a cell, [ not the nucleus ]

2. The nucleus is the repository for genes or genetic information [ a memory ]

3. DNA genes are a blueprint for proteins but DNA does not change in structure.  Genes do not self-activate!

4. RNA is a copy of the the blueprint and is the messenger

5. The proteins in cell membranes can make changes to the cell or organism

6. Environment is the first signal [ stimulus ] that makes specific proteins

6. Methylation [CH3] selects which gene will be copied.

7. Cell membrane filters the second signal which is like a response [ how you see environmental signal or perception ] that converts the first signal into an action; selects the right specific protein for change or behavior. Awareness of environment through perception. 

8. Protein forms a sleeve or cover around the DNA

9. Perception selects gene and proteins for change

10. Adaptive mutation causes change.  Environment controls mutation.  We adjust our genes to the environment we live in. 

11. Your body has the ability to heal itself

"a lifetime of interacting exposures interacts with your genes to determine your chronic disease risk."  Hyman: Genes do not determine disease 2014  Wiki: Behavioral epigenetics

cat siamese

Examples of epigenetics: Although genes contain all the information an organism uses to function, the environment plays an important role in determining the ultimate phenotypes [ appearance] an organism displays. This is the complementary relationship often referred to as "nature and nurture". The phenotype [ appearance ] of an organism depends on the interaction of genes and the environment. An interesting example is the coat coloration of the Siamese cat. In this case, the body temperature of the cat plays the role of the environment. The cat's genes code for dark hair, thus the hair producing cells in the cat make cellular proteins resulting in dark hair. But these dark hair-producing proteins are sensitive to temperature (i.e. have a mutation causing temperature-sensitivity) and denature in higher-temperature environments, failing to produce dark-hair pigment in areas where the cat has a higher body temperature. In a low-temperature environment, however, the protein's structure is stable and produces dark-hair pigment normally. The protein remains functional in areas of skin that are colder – such as its legs, ears, tail and face – so the cat has dark-hair at its extremities.  Wiki: Genetics

Genetic disorders & disease:  Example:  Environment plays a major role in effects of the human genetic disease phenylketonuriaSimmons: Epigenetics & disease 2008 The mutation that causes phenylketonuria disrupts the ability of the body to break down the amino acid phenylalanine, causing a toxic build-up of an intermediate molecule that, in turn, causes severe symptoms of progressive mental retardation and seizures. However, if someone with the phenylketonuria mutation follows a strict diet [ environmental signal ] that avoids this amino acid, they remain normal and healthy.  Wiki: Genetics 

Video: What happens in womb can last a lifetime: length 2:24 mns.

Source: epigenetics before birth

Experts estimate that about 70 to 90 percent of how your DNA is influenced and expressed by your environment; that is, the way you eat, move or exercise, feel, and are exposed to sound, odors, pressure, air, sunshine, electricity, environmental toxins and so on. Hyman: Genes do not determine disease 2014  Wiki: Behavioral epigenetics  In other words, how and what your DNA does can be changed.  Dean Cornish showed that targeted lifestyle changes can turn "ON" 48 disease-fighting genes, and turn "OFF" 453 disease-promoting genes.

Dr. Dean Ornish showed how food [an environment] --- whether it is plant-based, nutrient-rich, phytonutrients-rich food, or processed, high sugar, nutrient-depleted food --- changes your gene expression in real time over the course of weeks to months in his seminal prostate cancer research. Ornish: switches on/off life 2012  Orenstein Diet & cancer 2012

Finally, environmental factors have a far greater impact than genetic factors in developing non communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Rappaport: Environment and disease risks 2010

McCarthy thinks that the link between diabetes, obesity and epigenetic therapy is promising but several years away. There is little correlation between obesity, diabetes and your genes. McCarthy obesity & genes 2010  But the research is mounting in defiance to McCarthy! 

Below is a video that discusses the behavioral epigenetics, how it works and that you can heal yourself. 

Embyro Epigenetics by Courtney Griffins 18:42 mns long:

Source:  Griffins: embryo epigenetics 2012

genheredity

When a pregnant woman is exposed to an environmental agent, the exposure extends not only to herself (F0) and her unborn child (F1), but also to the germ cells developing within the fetus (F2). Animal studies have demonstrated chemical effects that extend a generation further still—to the F3 generation, the first generation not directly exposed to the original agent. Human studies to date have shown effects only through the F2 generation. Schmidt: environ effects inheritance 2013

"If parents are able to pass environmental information, in the form of epigenetic modifications, on to their offspring as well as their genetic code, then epigenetic inheritance adds a whole new dimension to the modern picture of evolution. Hurley: inheriting grandmas lifestyle 2013   For over a hundred years we have accepted that the genetic code changes slowly, through the processes of random mutation and natural selection. Epigenetics creates the possibility for a much more rapid response to signals from the environment. It requires a completely different concept of information transfer – experiences of generations ago, such as a famine during your grandmothers time, could influence the way that your body develops, even in today’s more plentiful western world. Having said this, the epigenome [the combination of DNA plus epigenetic tags] has the potential to remain flexible as your environment continues to change, and may allow continual adjustment of gene expression accordingly. All this could happen without a single change in the DNA" code."  Brown: heredity belief in danger 2014  Weaver: Nurturing & epigenetics 2004  McGowan child abuse & epigentics 2009   Hurley: inheriting grandmas lifestyle 2013   Wiki: Behavioral epigenetics  Anway: transgeneration effects fertility 2005

"Dads, Cocaine and Fungicide  Mothers aren't the only ones who pass epigenetic changes to offspring. Experiments with rats have shown the crop fungicide vinclozolin can cause susceptibility to cancer and kidney defects, both of which can be transferred to offspring through methylation changes. In a similar medical experiment, researchers discovered that cocaine-using mice passed memory problems on to three generations of descendants thanks to epigenetic changes." Lamb: How Epigenetics Works

You can't cry over spilt milk ... that is, blame your parents for your shortcomings!  The possibilities of this information has only been available for about 20 years.  They did the best they could before and after you were born.  You just have to go forward with your life!  Realize that most of your problems may be a consequence of poor life choices and decisions you have made and not what you inherited from your parents. 

In spite of mounting research giving behavioral epigenetics credibility, the new biology is controversial.  Buchen: nurturing babies 2010  Mercola: dogmas & changing DNA 2012   "Old dogs do not want to learn new tricks!"  The controversy is more about outdated belief than science!   Such controversy should not deter us from exploring it and even trying it out. 

Educate yourself on how your body works: Story at-a-glance:

  • Science has shattered the Central Dogma of molecular biology, proving that determinism — the belief that your genes control your health is false. You actually have a tremendous amount of control over how your genetic traits are expressed, by changing your thoughts and altering your diet and your environment.
  • Bacteria can choose which mutations to make: In 1988, the experiments of John Cairns  Cairns: Mutations 1988  demonstrated even primitive organisms can evolve “consciously,” as how DNA changes in response to its environment. The cell’s “consciousness” lies in its membrane, which contains receptors that pick up various environmental signals. The environ signals tell the organism to adjust and make changes in its metabolism.   
  • The work of Dr. Bruce Lipton and other epigenetic researchers   Lipton: Flawed assumptions 2011  Foster: mutations & evolution 2000  show that the “environmental signals” also include thoughts and emotions—both of which have been shown to directly affect DNA expression.
  • Contrary to the Newtonian belief that your body is a biological machine, epigenetic science reveals that you are an extension of your environment, which includes everything from your thoughts and belief systems, to toxic exposures and exposure to sunlight, exercise, and, of course, everything you choose to put onto and into your body. Epigenetics shatters the idea that you are a victim of your genes, and shows that you have tremendous power to shape and direct your physical body.  Lipton: Flawed assumptions 2011  Mercola: dogmas & changing DNA 2012

Psychology of Change:   The other half of epigenetics, the psychology of change, is how you yourself can turn the genes on/off with a new belief system .... using thoughts or perceptions.  Numerous psychologists claim to be able to do this with meditation Black: meditation changes DNA 2012  and visualizations, but as yet their explanations and demonstrations lack everyday application and validity. You and others need to be able to activate the belief signal and be able to actually turn selected switches on or off in real time.  As independent investigator Sorochan has found out, he understands the science of epigenetics but doesn't know whether he is turning the switches on or off yet. This is the missing link that would make it possible for all of us to use epigenetics in our daily lives! 

However, you may have inadvertently switched some/many of your genes on without being aware.  For example, your eating "whole plant food complexes," exercising and being in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes [vitamin D] could automatically turn on the good switches.  On the other hand you might be turning the bad switches when you are ingesting toxins [ fluoride, chlorine ] in water, smoking cigarettes, eating sugar sweets, or being exposed to toxic heavy metals like mercury or lead, polluted air or contaminated food.  These are simple examples of what you may be doing and not be aware of.  You are  selecting your environment for change.  So although the earlier comments that we need more information/research about how to turn the switch for the psychology of change are true, we may actually be doing good and bad environmental changes without being aware that we are. 

So why is this new information about epigenetics important for you?   Because it has the potential to change how you can successfully lose fat, prevent diseases and disorders and live a longer, happier and healthier life. 

The past 100 years were witness to a barrage of highly stressful, life-threatening, anxiety-producing events: wars, large-scale disasters, assas­sinations, mass murders, and the obliteration of entire cities and the threat of annihilation of millions more people with nuclear weapons. The Overkalix studies in Sweden about poor nutrition affecting the health of future generations Bygren: grandma food affect on grandchildren 2014  and Dutch famine of 1944, known as the Hongerwinter ["Hunger winter"], that took place in the German occupied northern part of the Netherlands Roseboom: Prenatal famine & adult disease 2001, both imply the theory that diseases like cancer and heart disease can originate in the womb. 

On the other hand, we have also had many positive life changing happenings like electricity, clean water, women’s right to vote, automobiles, air and space travel, air conditioning, and highway systems, the discoveries of antibiotics, television, the internet and cell phones.  Many of these supposed good innovations have had deleterious affects on health of people.   Henry A. Nasrallah, MD, asks: "Can there be a transgenerational neurobiological effect on the children and grandchildren of people who have been subjected to life-threatening, traumatic societal events? Could the psy­chobiology of widespread anxiety and worry (solicitude) be experienced not only by the generation that witnessed and lived through those devastating events, but also by their progeny, who were not yet born during the traumatic events? And could there be epigenetic consequences on a large scale, producing a generation that shares traits induced by the trauma experienced by the previous generation?"   Nasrallah global trauma affects generations 2014  Judith Atkinson reviewed research about whole communities being affected by a single experience of trauma by a single member of a community; giving support to Nasrallah's implications!  Atkinson: community trauma  There is circumstantial  research that substantiates the transgrenerational observations of Nasrallah, Atkinson, Bygren, Roseboom and others. 

New ongoing findings about "transgenerational effects on animals and humans compel a reevaluation of how scientists perceive environmental health threats. Anway: transgeneration effects fertility 2005   “We have to think more long-term about the effects of chemicals that we’re exposed to every day,”  says Lisa Chadwick, a program administrator at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). “This new research suggests they could have consequences not just for our own health and for that of our children, but also for the health of generations to come.”  Schmidt: environ effects inheritance 2013 

Skinner has shown that insecticides, phthalates, dioxin, and jet fuel, when given to gestating rats during periods of embryonic programming, promote early-onset puberty in female offspring and decreased sperm counts in males, out to the F3 generation. Schmidt: environ effects inheritance 2013 

transgen "Chemicals given to pregnant female mice (the F0 generation) interact not only with the fetal offspring (the F1 generation) but also the germ cells developing within those offspring, which mature into the sperm and eggs that give rise to the F2 generation. Thus, the F3 animals are the first generation to be totally unexposed to the original agent. Effects that extend to the F2 generation are known as “multigenerational,” whereas those that extend to the F3 generation are known as “transgenerational.”   Transgenerational effects have now been reported for chemicals including permethrin, DEET, bisphenol A, certain phthalates, dioxin, jet fuel mixtures, nicotine, and tributyltin, among others. Most of these findings come from rodent studies.  But preliminary evidence that chemical effects can carry over generations in humans is also emerging, although no F3 data have been published yet."  Schmidt: environ effects inheritance 2013

The science is good.  Most of the epigenetic research began as a hunch in 1992 in a bar in Madrid, Spain.  Since then, the support for the hunch has mounted gradually with research picking up steam since 2004. The unique researches may be difficult to understand for persons lacking a biology-genetics background. The research also throws out genetic terms that may be complex.  Making matters worse is the inability of many superb researchers to communicate their findings to us.  This researcher reviewed many research projects [ see footnotes below ] dealing with epigenetics in an effort to find a researcher who understood the field and who also could communicate the new science in simple terms. Such a researcher is Bruce Lipton. 

Lipton explains epigenetics, using animation, in a general way.  Lipton's explanation of how the new bio-science of epigenetics works and how it can be used to change people's beliefs and approaches to controlling their body and health is also giving credibility to Gabriel's approach to weight control. Lipton and Gabriel leave a mystery gap in how to implement theory into practice; activating the mind to turn good switches on.  The gap is with psychologists theorizing, talking and simulating how to activate the mind for change instead of actually guiding [ giving a confirmation recipe ] people into doing it; that is, actually having people change their belief switch.  The proof of this happening is missing!  This gap needs more research to put the "proof of the pudding in the eating!"   Researchers need to simplify just how "main street people" can implement turning the belief switch epigenetics in their everyday lives.  Until this happens, the use of epigenetics in user's hands will remain somewhat of a mystery.  These reserved observations should not stop you from trying the new epigenetics out in your personal life.  As pointed out earlier, you have been letting your environment dictate your choices and switches by letting others turn on the switches for you [ like mass media advertizing, newspapers and recommendations from others ]. 

But the science behind turning the belief switches on and off has an excellent graphic communicator in Bruce Lipton.

Although there is much that most persons may not understand about Lipton's epigenetics, and the biological experiments of Cairns, Meaney, Szyf and others, this new science opens the door for a new approach to the practice of medicine, to healing and to better health. New research about what traits new generations may inherit from grandparents, parents and communities should motivate our politicians to review current agricultural and industry practices.  Lipton and his college, Rob Williams, point out that changing the belief switch should take 2 to 5 minutes.  This contradicts Gabriel's system of weight loss approach requiring length visualizations over months.  Obviously, such differences need to be resolved with more good research design. 

 All this new information should make you aware that you can become an extension of your environment, your thoughts and belief systems, toxic exposures, exposure to sunlight, exercise, and food.  The new biology moves you out of victim-blaming others for your problems and toward mastery over your own health.  "You Can Take Control of Your Health."

It gives you a recipe for your lifestyle and how to live!  It is not just about weight loss and getting rid of excess body fat, but bringing under control many chronic disorders like diabetes, autoimmune disorders and cancer without drugs and expensive therapy. 

Your feedback is most appreciated: E-mail to: Author Walter Sorochan

To return to: web-site main page

References 

Alcock Joe, Carlo C. Maley, C. Athena Aktipis, "Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms," BioEssays, 2014, DOI: 10.1002/bies.201400071   Alcock: bacteria controlswhat you eat 2014  

Androite John-Manuel, "To Lose and Keep Off Weight, Turn Off Your Body's 'Fat Switch'," Huffington Post, May 09, 2013.  Androite: Switching fat off 2013

"In his new book The Fat Switch, Richard J. Johnson, a professor of medicine and head of the division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Colorado-Denver, argues that obesity is a process animals have used to protect themselves during periods of food shortage, and that they have learned to "flip" a switch when they want to gain weight. The switch occurs in the energy factories of the body (mitochondria) and results in the desire to eat more than is needed and to reduce energy output, thus allowing the maximal conversion of food into fat.   >Johnson says the real reason people are getting fat is that they have inadvertently activated the "fat switch." In other words, we are eating more not because we are given bigger servings of food, but because we demand bigger servings, and we are exercising less not because we are watching more TV, but we are watching more TV because we have less energy.

So what flips the fat switch? In a word: "sugar." Fat is the fuel, but sugar, and in particular, fructose, is the fire," says Johnson. "Foods rich in fructose can activate the fat switch -- resulting in loss of appetite control and a reduction in energy."

Anway, MD, AS Cupp , M Uzumcu, and MK Skinner., "Epigenetic Transgenerational Actions of Endocrine Disruptors and Male Fertility," Science 2005 308:1466-1469.   Anway: transgeneration effects fertility 2005

Atkinson Judy, Jeff Nelson and Caroline Atkinson, "Trauma, Transgenerational Transfer and Effects on Community Wellbeing," Trauma and Transgenerational Transfer, Chapter 10.   Atkinson: community trauma    [ trauma experiences are transmitted within and across generations; whole communities can be affected by a single experience of trauma by a single member of a community. ]

Bygren LO, Tinghög P, Carstensen J, Edvinsson S, Kaati G, Pembrey ME and Sjöström M., "Change in paternal grandmothers´ early food supply influenced cardiovascular mortality of the female grandchildren," BMC Genetics 2014, 15:12  Bygren: grandma food affect on grandchildren 2014   [Conclusion: The shock of change in food availability seems to give specific transgenerational responses. ]

Black DS, Cole SW, Irwin MR, Breen E, St Cyr NM, Nazarian N, Khalsa DS, Lavretsky H., "Yogic meditation reverses NF-κB and IRF-related transcriptome dynamics in leukocytes of family dementia caregivers in a randomized controlled trial," Psychoneuroendocrinology. July 15, 2012.   Black: meditation changes DNA 2012  [ The present study examined if a yogic meditation might alter the activity of inflammatory and antiviral transcription control pathways that shape immune cell gene expression. Conclusion: it does. ]

Brown Emily, "Epigenetics – Could the central dogma be in danger?" McGill Blog, January 7, 2014.   Brown: heredity belief in danger 2014

Brumfiel Geoff, "Tiny DNA Switches Aim To Revolutionize 'Cellular' Computing," NPR, March 29, 2013,   Brumfiel: Building DNA switches 2013

Buchen Lizzie, "IN THEIR NURTURE Can epigenetics underlie the enduring effects of a mother’s love?" Nature, September 9, 2010.  Buchen: nurturing babies 2010 [ criticisms of a landmark study and the controversial field to which it gave birth.]

Cairns John, Overbaugh J, Miller S., "The origin of mutants," Nature, 1988, 335:142–145.   Cairns: Mutations 1988

Bacteria could choose which mutations to make The paper describes an experiment where E. coli with a defective mutant gene for breaking down lactose are placed in a medium containing nothing but lactose. Results were that the bacteria had mutated and were able to break down the lactose and grow. Cairns concluded that the mutation was not random and Lipton claims that we can do similar things when our health is compromised. This ideas of this experiment are controversial because these ideas challenge the traditional 50 year dogmas of science, biology and genetics.  Cairn's experiments provide the basis for biogenetics.

A controversial paper published by John Cairns and his colleagues in 1988 challenged traditional thinking about spontaneous mutation. In that paper, Cairns et al. presented evidence that mutations arise in non-dividing, nutritionally deprived cells of Escherichia coli, apparently in response to selective pressure.

Control of Gene Expression Chapter 8, Garland Science  Control Genes

Dashwood Rod, "Epigenetic' concepts offer new approach to degenerative disease," Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, April 28,-2010. Dashwood: Epigentics: controling DNA 2010

Evans Sandy, "Exercise can make-over your fat cells even if you're not losing weight," Better Body Chemistry.   Evans: exercise changes DNA

Foster P.L. "Adaptive Mutation in Escherichia coli," Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2000; 65: 21–29.   Foster: bacteria mutation 2000

Foster Patricia L."Adaptive mutation: implications for evolution," Bioessays. Dec 2000; 22(12): 1067–1074.   Foster: mutations & evolution 2000

Gabriel Jon, The Gabriel Method: The Revolutionary DIET-FREE Way to Totally Transform Your Body (Paperback)   Book Reviews   Gabriel-Method-Revolutionary-DIET

Gottfried Sara, "How to Turn on Your Skinny Genes (and Fit in Your Skinny Jeans)   Gottfried: DNA control [ vested interest ]

Hackett Jamie, "Scientists discover how epigenetic information could be inherited," Science, January 25, 2013, Research, University of Cambridge.  Hackett: epigenetic inheritance [ New research reveals a potential way for how parents’ experiences could be passed to their offspring’s genes. ]

Hurley Dan, "Grandma's Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes," June 11, 2013.   Hurley: inheriting grandmas lifestyle 2013 Your ancestors' lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain.

Hyman Mark, "Why Your Genes Don't Determine Your Health," Huffington Post, August 20, 2014.   Hyman: Genes do not determine disease 2014 

"70-90 percent of your disease risk is related to your environment exposures and the resultant alterations in molecules that wash over your genes."

In November of this year a review on genomics, Type 2 diabetes and obesity in the New England Journal of Medicine  sadly reported on how little correlation exists between obesity, diabetes and your genes. There are associated patterns that confer small risks, but the authors lament the lack of stronger connections between genetic makeup and the biggest disease epidemic of our time (obesity and diabetes) with refrains such as "modest effect size," "relatively few successes," "remains far from clear," "poorly captured by existing biologic knowledge."

Kollias Helen, "Research Review: Change your DNA with exercise How movement affects methylation," Precision Nutrition.   Kollias: Exercise changes DNA

Lamb Robert, "How Epigenetics Works," How Stuff Works,   Lamb: How Epigenetics Works

Langer Ellen, "Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness," Being, May 29, 2014. [Transcript]   Langer: mind 2014

Langer defines mindfulness as the simple act of actively noticing things - with a result of increased health, competence, and happiness; what neuroscience is pointing at now: our experience of everything is formed by the words and ideas we attach to them: e.g. to induce weight loss by substituting the label “exercise” for labor. 

Learn genetic traits [ explore activities ] Explore your traits

Ledón-Rettig Cris C., Christina L. Richards and Lynn B. Martin, "Epigenetics for behavioral ecologists," Behavioral Ecology, September 25, 2012.   Ledón-Rettig: Research epigenetics update 2012  [ Review advances that have been made toward understanding molecular epigenetic mechanisms underlying behavioral variation, and their potential role in ecological and evolutionary processes; then propose approaches and systems that will be amenable to the study of behavioral epigenetics in natural populations. ]

Lipton Bruce, "Has Modern Science Bankrupted Our Souls?" AOL Healthy living, JUNE 02, 2011.   Lipton: Flawed assumptions 2011

Lipton Bruce, "The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles," The Biology of Belief; Spontaneous Evolution 2009.[Texts]  September, 2008.     Lipton: mind changes body

Lipton claims that amino acid chains that make up the backbone of proteins receive signals from the quantum field. He goes on to explain that by changing the quantum field we can actually affect how the proteins bind and interrelate to other proteins affecting the systems in the body. The implications of his research has radically change our understanding of life. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. Dr. Liptons's profoundly hopeful synthesis of the latest and best research in cell biology and quantum physics is being hailed as a major breakthough, showing that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking.

Lester Barry M., "Behavioral epigenetics," ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, Printed 2011 14–33; Conference Report "Behavioral Epigenetics” held on October 29–30, 2010 .   Lester: Conference info 2011   [ Conference was held at the University of Massachusetts Boston Campus Center, Boston, Massachusetts. This meeting featured speakers and panel discussions exploring the emerging field of behavioral epigenetics, from basic biochemical and cellularmechanisms to the epigenetic modulation of normative development, developmental disorders, and psychopathology. This report provides an overview of the research presented by leading scientists and lively discussion about the future of investigation at the behavioral epigenetic level. ]

McCarthy MI., "Genomics, type 2 diabetes, and obesity," N England J Med. 2010 Dec 9;363(24):2339-50.   McCarthy obesity & genes 2010

McGowan Patrick O, Aya Sasaki1,2, Ana C D'Alessio3, Sergiy Dymov3, Benoit Labonté1,4, Moshe Szyf2,3, Gustavo Turecki1,4 & Michael J Meaney, "Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse," Nature Neuroscience, February 22, 2009;2, 342 - 348.   McGowan child abuse & epigentics 2009 [ findings translate previous results from rat to humans and suggest a common effect of parental care on the epigenetic regulation of hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor expression. ]

Meaney Micheal J.,  refer to Weaver study. 

Mercola, "Falling for This Myth Could Give You Cancer," Mercola.com., April 11, 2012.   Mercola: dogmas & changing DNA 2012

Mithers Carol, "Weight loss is all in your head," CNN Living, July 20, 2007.   Mithers: weight loss is in head 2007

Nasrallah Henry A., "100 years of solicitude: Do global traumatic events have a transgenerational effect?" Current Psychiatry 2014 May;13(5):21-23.  Nasrallah global trauma affects generations 2014

NIH, "Chapter 1: How Genes Work."   NIH: How genes work

Nova, "Ghost in Your Genes," Nova, PBS Airdate: October 16, 2007.   Nova: Genes & health 2007

Orenstein Beth W., "The Ornish Diet," Everyday Health. February 23, 2012.  Orenstein Diet & cancer 2012

Ornish Dean, Mark Jesus M. Magbanua, Gerdi Weidner, Vivian Weinberg, Colleen Kemp, Christopher Green, Michael D. Mattie, Ruth Marlin, Jeff Simko, Katsuto Shinohara, Christopher M. Haqq and Peter R. Carroll, "Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention," Jul-Aug; 2012 34(4):782-812. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.   Ornish: switches on/off life 2012

Pembrey Marcus E, Lars Olov Bygren, Gunnar Kaati, Sören Edvinsson, Kate Northstone, Michael Sjöström, Jean Golding and The ALSPAC Study Team, "Sex-specific, male-line transgenerational responses in humans," European Journal of Human Genetics, December 14, 2006, 14, 159–166.   Pembrey: transgration in Sweden 2006 [ Observational Study done in Överkalix, northernmost Sweden: "sex-specific, male-line transgenerational responses exist in humans and hypothesise that these transmissions are mediated by the sex chromosomes, X and Y." ]

Powledge Tabitha M., "Behavioral Epigenetics: How Nurture Shapes Nature," BioScience, 2011, 61 (8): 588-592.   Powledge: Behavioral Epigenetics 2011

Rappaport, S., et al., "Environment and disease risks," Science, 2010, 330: 460-461.   Rappaport: Environment and disease risks 2010

"the notion of the "exposome"--the idea that the environment in which your genes live is more important than your genes themselves. What this suggests is that applying genomics to treat disease is misguided because 70-90 percent of your disease risk is related to your environment exposures and the resultant alterations in molecules that wash over your genes."

Reid Kathryn J., Giovanni Santostasi, Kelly G. Baron, John Wilson, Joseph Kang, Phyllis C. Zee, "Timing and Intensity of Light Correlate with Body Weight in Adults," PLOS, April 02, 2014.   Reid: Light & body weight 2014 [ Light exposure can influence sleep and circadian timing, both of which have been shown to influence weight regulation. ]

Rodenhiser, David, and Mellissa Mann. Review: Epigenetics and human disease: translating basic biology into clinical applications. CMAJ January 31, 2006 vol. 174 no. 3 doi: 10.1503/cmaj.050774

Ronn Tina and others, "A sox month exercise intervention influences the genome-wide DNA methylation pattern in human adipose tissue," PLoS Genetics, 2013, 9(6). Ronn: exercise switches DNA 2013

Roseboom Tessa J., Jan H.P. van der Meulen, Anita C.J. Ravelli, Clive Osmond,David J.P. Barker, Otto P. Bleker, "Effects of prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine on adult disease in later life: an overview," Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 2001, 185 93–98.   Roseboom: Prenatal famine & adult disease 2001    [ We found indications that undernutrition during gestation affects health in later life. The effects on undernutrition, however, depend upon its timing during gestation and the organs and systems developing during that critical time window. Furthermore, our findings suggest that maternal malnutrition during gestation may permanently affect adult health without affecting the size of the baby at birth. ]

Schmidt Charles W., "Uncertain Inheritance: Transgenerational Effects of Environmental Exposures," Environ Health Perspect, 2013, DOI:10.1289/ehp.121-A298.   Schmidt: environ effects inheritance 2013

Simmons Danielle, "Epigenetic influence and disease," Nature Education, 2008, 1(1):6.  Simmons: Epigenetics & disease 2008

An example:"These findings suggest that diet can cause changes to genes that are passed down though generations by the males in a family, and that these alterations can affect susceptibility to certain diseases. --- Epigenetics involves genetic control by factors other than an individual's DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes can switch genes on or off and determine which proteins are transcribed. --- Within cells, there are three systems that can interact with each other to silence genes: DNA methylation, histone modifications, and RNA-associated silencing. --- Because so many diseases, such as cancer, involve epigenetic changes, it seems reasonable to try to counteract these modifications with epigenetic treatments. These changes seem an ideal target because they are by nature reversible, unlike DNA sequence mutations. The most popular of these treatments aim to alter either DNA methylation or histone acetylation."

Smith Abby, "Scientists discovered genetic switches that caused differences between humans and neanderthals," The Westside Story, April 20, 2014.   Smith: genetic switches 2014

Szyf Moshe, Weaver Ian and Michael J. Meaney, "Maternal care, the epigenome and phenotypic differences in behavior," Reproductive Toxicology, July 2007, Volume 24, Issue 1,Pages 9–19.   Syzf: behavioral epigenetics 2007

"... discovered that the type and amount of nurturing a mother rat provides in the early weeks of the rat's infancy determines how that rat responds to stress later in life. Immediately after birth, they found that methyl groups repress the glucocorticoid receptor gene in all rat pups, making the gene unable to unwind from the histone in order to be transcribed, causing a decreased stress response. Nurturing behaviors from the mother rat were found to stimulate activation of stress signaling pathways that remove methyl groups from DNA."

Weaver Ian C G, Nadia Cervoni, Frances A Champagne, Ana C D'Alessio, Shakti Sharma, Jonathan R Seckl, Sergiy Dymov, Moshe Szyf, & Michael J Meaney, "Epigenetic programming by maternal behavior," Nature Neuroscience, June 27, 2004, 7, 847 - 854.  Weaver: Nurturing & epigenetics 2004

Wikipedia, "Behavioral epigenetics."   Wiki: Behavioral epigenetics

Wikipedia, "Genetics." Wiki: Genetics

Wilborn Colin and others, "Obesity: Prevalence, Theories, Medical Consequences, Management, and Research Directions," Sports Nutr. Deceember 09, 2005; 2(2): 4–31.   Wilbourn: Obesity research 2005