Category: Classic Genes and Serology
IfHI Faculty Member Dr. Emily Kane sent me this note:
"Recently there was been discussion on a Naturopathic chat group about the validity of blood type diet, with (IfHI Master) Dr. Virginia Oram being one of your most fervent defenders! Our moderator commented that corn could hardly have been "bad" for all those native Americans. The highly esteemed Pam Taylor offered the following perspective:"
Back in the mid-70's a group of us were doing some comparative studies of skulls from Woodland Native American tribes and skulls from Central America with Dr. Jerry Rose (U. of AR, Dept. of Anthropology), whose specialty was medical anthropology. He pointed out the outlines of arterial imprints in certain groups of the Woodland skulls, which were noticeably larger than those from Central America. He theorized that the adaptive development of the larger blood vessels was a response to the presence of anemia, requiring greater blood flow to supply an adequate amount of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
The discrepancy was due to diet. The Woodland tribes were known to have cultural "boom and bust" cycles where they would spend some time hunting and gathering while the population expanded and became more robust living off game, fish and berries. Skulls from these groups did not display the enlarged blood vessels. When the tribe reached a certain level of vitality with a large enough population to afford a greater division of labor, they would find a place to settle and and farm, with corn as a staple. The significant increase in corn consumption as a dietary staple eventually resulted in anemia, a lower fertility and birth rate, and a level of irritability that led to less cooperation, more fighting (as evidenced by breakage and healing patterns in the bones), increased mortality and injury, a smaller band of individuals, and eventually resulted in their having to abandon a settled life style and resume hunting and gathering.
He theorized that when native populations in Central America prepared their corn by grinding it with limestone tools the grit that mingled with the corn contained a chemical had an inhibitory effect on corn's assumed inhibition of iron uptake.
Recent rat studies indicate that the periodic iron deficiency anemia of the Woodland population during their settled agricultural periods was more likely due to the amino acid imbalance in the corn (see article notation below) rather than a specific factor inhibiting its uptake. However, the physical evidence over time consistently supported the idea that when the Woodland groups were hunting and gathering, with substantially less corn in their diet, they were measurably healthier.
Studies in cultural anthropology spanning nearly a century note specific disease susceptibilities peculiar to different blood groups. But for sure, whether it's from an anthropological perspective or a naturopathic one, the contributing factors to health and disease, whether focused in an individual or extended to a culture, are multiple and multi-layered.
On days when I have a string of obnoxious patients, I definitely miss the bone lab.
I seem to remember reading that changes in dental and skull molding were also seen in so-called 'Mound Builder Cultures' that appeared to correlate with their evolution to an increasingly corn-based diet. That corn may have had this effect takes nothing away from its sacred role in these societies. It was a key subsistence food which allowed populations to grow and avoid starvation, despite the fact that it may have been a suboptimal source of some key nutrients.
Living on an avoid food is probably better that starving because you can't find any beneficial ones nearby.
Fact is, my research has not met with great acceptance in the naturopathic community. It indicates prudence and occasionally some honest skepticism, although I also think a lot of NDs just can't grok it intellectually. So like the chat moderator, they see it in only its most simplistic manifestations, thus requiring only the simplest objections.
Although you might think that capitalizing on the potential for polymorphisms and biochemical individuality would be a 'no-brainer' in a healing art like naturopathic medicine, the reality is otherwise. Maybe in time things will change, but for now my work lies in that wonderful 'excluded middle' that Charles Forte alluded to; misapprehended by the allopaths and naturopaths alike.
Nonetheless, my old friend, Dr. Pam Snider, who is running the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine project, an attempt to codify naturopathic tools and techniques, recently asked me to author two entries (co-author with Dr. Joseph Pizzorno on the genomics chapter; lead author on the genomic medicine chapter; and contributing author on nutrition chapter.) I don't know where I'll ever find the time to do this, by Martha has said that she would help out, which almost always makes things better.
Getting ready for a lecture this weekend at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts. They invited me to do two lectures on Saturday, for a total of about three hours running time. I suspect they don't have much awarenes of the GenoType material, so I'll do the first session on blood groups and then perhaps the second on GenoTypes and epigenetics.
Speaking of which, running factor analysis on the GenoTypes yields interesting spacial distinctions. Here is a graph of two principal components of data aligned along the point of maximum variability seen with the so-called 'classic genes'. It helps to imagine the small lines as actually coming out at you, if the graph could be in 3 dimensions.
The Explorer GenoType sticks out under these conditions as a very unique archetype.
I recently got the results of my Genographic Testing back. As a test it is simple enough; you swab the inside of your cheek with a comb like device and send it off to the Genographic services for analysis. You can check on the progress of the test by logging into their site and it does take a while to get it performed- in my case about 5 weeks from submission. If I remember correctly, it cost about USD $150.
Women always do the form of ancestry testing called mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, since this is the DNA that is passed continuously through the maternal lineage. Guys can do either mitochondrial DNA or Y chromosome analysis, which gives information on the paternal lineage. Since I'm more attuned to my Spanish heritage, I opted to do mtDNA though I'm going to do the Y chromosome as well.
It turns out that I'm Haplogroup T. It's not uncommon in Europe, but not the most common gene marker either (that is Haplogroup H). It seems to have developed in the Middle East (Anatolia) and moved into Europe with the spread of Neolithic agriculture, which jives with my ABO blood group, A.
Time to visit my friend Yaman and once again tour the old haunts!
Haplogroup T has a few subsets (T2, T3, T4 and T5) but I have only four SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in the so-called Hyper Variable Region (HVR-1) called 16126C, 16294T, 16296T and 16519C and these plant me in the rather unsatisfying T* subgroup made up of all T's who are not in any other subgroup.
Well, at least I'm not directly related to Jesse James although I am related to a lot of European royalty.
Take that Isa!
I always did feel a bit of connection to tragic-comic Czar Nicky and it's nice to think I can hit up a few royals for bus fare if needed.
Haplogroup T is closely related (derived, rather) from Haplogroup J, another Middle Eastern haplogroup, a fact which I find especially interesting in light of another recent discovery.
My mother's maiden name was Subira-Vidal, the Vidal from her mother (my grandmother's) side of the family. It turns out that Vidal in that part of Spain (Catalonia) was a name commonly adopted by Sephardic Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism during the Inquisition, the name "Vidal" being used as a substitute for "Chaim" both signifying "life." Not all Spaniard with the surname Vidal are of Sephardic origins, but many in Catalonia are.
My mother was born in a very small town near the Aragon-Catalonia border called "Masalcoreig" which the locals say is derived from a phrase meaning "The Moor's Rock.â€? In those halcyon days before the occupations and intifadas and especially in Spain, wherever you found Moors you usually also found Jews; often as doctors, scribes and tutors.
So I'm a quarter Middle-Eastern and Sephardic. Now I can't wait to see some of my old-timer Hassidic patients at the clinic so I can pull rank on them.
Well, gotta go brush up on my Ladino...
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Cool is a complex aesthetic of motion and interval, of tension and tranquility, of juxtaposition and coexistence, that has its roots in various West African cultures. Over time, it has been transformed by African-Americans and appropriated by American and Western popular culture, generally.
A new study seems to indicate that Tai Chi may reduce falls in the elderly. The researchers concluded that â€˜Improved functional balance through Tai Chi training is associated with subsequent reductions in fall frequency in older persons,' the authors write. â€˜Healthcare providers and clinicians contemplating fall-prevention programs for older persons at risk of falling should consider Tai Chi, both as a balance-retraining program, and as part of a multifaceted treatment intervention for fall prevention.'On of the main topics at ifHI 2003 was the link between elevated levels of a 'soluable endothelial factor' called E-Selectin, and individuals who are blood type A. In a nutshell E-selectin is one of several molecules that are involved in the adhesion of certain white blood cells to the artery wall, typically as a result of inflammation. Higher levels of E-selectin may contribute to the overall greater levels of heart disease seen in type A individuals.
New research indicates (again) that a 'western' level of red meat consumption results in increased levels of E-selectin. Also worth noting is that the artery inflammation caused by E-selectin is greatly enhanced by elevated levels of other blood clotting factors (Factor VIII, von Willebrand Factor) which can be up to 25% lower in normal, healthy, type O individuals when compared to type A.
E-selectin levels drop with a vegetable based diet. so if you're type A an think you need to do Atkins or Paleo, think again. You may well wind up cooking your arteries.
Got this note in my comments file:
"Peter, you may be interested in some recent articles in the April, 2004 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology re: lectin binding pathway of complement activation and fucosylated proteins that function as selectin ligands. [J Allergy Clin Immunol, Volume 113, Number 4] Regards, Ann Robb, MDâ€?
Thought it would make a good teaching point.
Warning! Technical stuff follows!
Selectins are multifunctional adhesion molecules that mediate the initial interactions between circulating white blood cells and cells lining the blood vessels, usually with the intent of allowing the white blood cells passage through the vessels walls and on into the tissues. They play a role in arteriosclerosis, inflammatory diseases, and metastatic spreading of some cancers. The best understood selectins, E-selectin and P-selectin, show some variation according to ABO type, with higher levels of E-selectin shown to occur in individuals who are type A. The sugar fucose appears to be critical the proper function of selectins. Interestingly, most likely through the interaction of the selectin molecule with variations of the Lewis A (non-secretor) and Lewis X antigens, which are in themselves fucosylated.
In a 1999 study published in the Journal Blood, leukocyte adhesion deficiency type II (LAD II), a rare inherited disorder of fucose metabolism that leads to severe mental retardation and immunodeficiency (caused by the absence of carbohydrate-based selectin ligands on the surface of the white blood cells) was reversed by oral supplementation of fucose, which induced the expression of fucosylated selectin ligands on the patient's white blood cells. During 9 months of treatment, infections and fever disappeared, elevated white blood cell counts returned to normal, and psychomotor capabilities improved.
In short, fucose is important for proper selectin function, proper selectin function is critical for efficient regulation of inflammation --and a host of other metabolic and immune functions.
The Complement System is a part of the immune response that occurs when an antibody comes into contact with the antigen to which it was manufactured. In some instances, such as when a transfusion is mismatched, the antibody-antigen interaction is so lethal that the foreign object is destroyed immediately. More commonly, the antibody-antigen interaction stimulates an â€˜effector mechanism' that actually does the dirty work.
There are three pathways to complement activation, though as a student twenty-five years ago, I was taught that there were only two. The two I was taught were referred to as the â€˜classic' and â€˜alternative' pathways.
The Classic Pathway is the standard way that an antibody-antigen complex stimulates complement, usually by activating a chain reaction resulting in the conversion of a preexisting circulating inactive molecule into a new molecule that coats the membrane of the invader and then itself is converted into another molecule that attacks the membrane of the invader by boring holes in it.
The Alternative Pathway to activating complement is really much like the Classic, except that instead of antigen-antibodies triggering the complement cascade, many bacteria and foreign objects trigger it directly.
Recently, it was discovered that lectins form a unique, third way to activate complement, most notably through the example of a lectin that is found in our blood serum called Manna Binding Protein (MP. Non-secretors appear to have lower levels of complement than secretors.
Put another way, antibodies â€˜finger' the target, complement destroys it.
Someone asked about whether celiac disease and blood types have any link. There is a published study that claims a strong link between non-secretor status and celiac disease, and other authors have seen a link between the variations in intestinal alkaline phosphatase seen with the ABO types and celiac.
I've been researching P-glycoprotein, a membrane glycoprotein that is associated with resistance to a variety of drugs, including many chemotherapy drugs used in cancer. There is evidence that p-glycoprotein levels can can be expressed up to seven times more numerously in tissues of individuals who are blood type A which may go along way towards explaining why it appears that type A's with cancer who receive chemotherapy often do not have as beneficial an effect as the other blood types.
Obviously finding ways to modulate P-glycoprotein would be very desirable, especially if they could be administered during chemotherapy. So far there appears to be a variety of flavones and alkaloids found in nature that up-regulate or down-regulate P-glycoprotein, so perhaps a nutritional application may be possible. Much more work is needed, but from the biochemical aspect, it is quite fascinating. From a broader perspective, the potential that P-glycoprotein inhibitors may have for the treatment of various immune disorders should also be investigated.