Tags: personalized medicine
From Percept Mot Skills. 2008 Dec;107(3):737-46.
Twin and family study findings indicate a substantial heritability of digit ratio (2D:4D), a putative marker for the masculinizing effects of prenatal androgen exposure. Functional polymorphisms of the X-linked androgen receptor gene, i.e., androgen sensitivity, contribute somewhat to the expression of 2D:4D in men, but otherwise the genetics of 2D:4D is unknown. This study investigated differences in 2D:4D by self-reported ABO blood type and Rhesus factor, two easily collectible genetic traits, in two samples (combined N=1273). Effects of blood groups on 2D:4D were small and not significant in all tests in both samples; however, two consistent patterns emerged across samples. Of the ABO types, AB had the lowest right-hand 2D:4D, the highest left-hand 2D:4D, and the lowest right-minus-left difference in 2D:4D, and Rhesus factor Rh- had higher left-hand 2D:4D and lower right-minus-left difference in 2D:4D than Rh+. If replicable, this may suggest genes contributing to the expression of 2D:4D reside in the vicinity of the gene loci (chromosomal locations: 9q34.2 and 1p36.11) of these blood groups or pleiotropic effects of the blood-group genes.
As if I needed further convinced that epigenetics (the control of gene expression through nutrition) is the great wave of the future, a pre-publication results of a study released to members of The Epigenetic Society should satisfy for quite a while.
In a study soon to be published in the Journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers looked at the epigenetic effects of childhood maltreatment and early trauma. Using laboratory rats (whose epigenetic mechanisms are very similar to humans) the researchers exposed infant rats to stressed caretakers who predominately displayed abusive behaviors.
They found that early maltreatment produced persistent changes in the methylation of a gene called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) that is responsible for the developmental health of the cerebral cortex.
In addition, they observed disturbed BDNF methylation in the offspring of females that had previously experienced the maltreatment regimen, indicating that the epigenetic effects of abuse, trauma and neglect were carried from one generation to the next.
The GenoType Diet carries the promise of a genetic redemption of sorts, since as in the words of one researcher “Unlike defective genes, which are damaged for life, methylated genes can be demethylated. And, methyl tags that are knocked off can be regained via nutrients, drugs, and enriching experiences.” (2)
- Tania L. Roth TL, Farah D. Lubin FD, Adam J. Funk and J. David Sweatt. Lasting Epigenetic Influence of Early-life Adversity on the BDNF Gene. Biological Psychiatry, In Press
- Asim K. Duttaroy Evolution, Epigenetics, and Maternal Nutrition 2006 Darwin Day Celebration.
As is typical of this time of year, it’s been a very active time for your humble physician-author-blogger.
January started off with a whirlwind visit out to Arizona for a daylong presentation to the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association. This was followed by a two week intensive period of website redesign, overhauling the website of The D’Adamo Clinic in addition to the navigation system for North American Pharmacal. The Clinic website is a simple white design that I like very much and it conveys what being inside the Clinic feels like to me. I’m not normally a fan of all-white walls, but in the Clinic it works.
One problem you come across again and again when you program for the Internet is cross-browser support. I’ve learned the hard way that a web page that works and looks good in Firefox for the Mac may not necessarily look or work the same way in Internet Explorer for Windows. Many, many times it’s been a last minute check on an outdated browser running Windows 95 that kiboshed a terrific idea.
Putting the final touches on the SWAMI software. I’ve decided to port it to two platforms. One will be the traditional SWAMI GenoType for professionals, the other will be a SWAMI Xpress that will be available online. Introduction of the SWAMIGenoType will be linked to the IfHI 2009 Conference, where Tom Greenfield, Natalie Colicci and I will have the time to take the attendees through the interface, filters and matrices. If you are a physician or IFHI certified educator planning to use SWAMI GenoType in your practice, you’ll need to attend IfHI 2009 to get the full training.
SWAMI Xpress will contain all the base programs of his more muscular brother, but is being designed for general-purpose use. SWAMI GenoType has advanced filters and controls that allow a physician to exert complete control over the client diet and is geared to practitioners who want to have a more micrometric control over things. Introduction of SWAMI Xpress will be as part of NAP’s “Do It For A Month” program.
On the lecture horizon, I’ve got a webinar with the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy on March 31 and an upcoming Grand Rounds presentation at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine on February 11. After that things calm down until the IfHI 2009 Conference June 5. IfHI should be challenging. I’ve scheduled myself for something like 9 hours of lecture time, and if you could believe it I’m stressing out about not having enough time to do justice to the material. Figured out how to control my slide show from an iPhone, which is very cool. I should be able to pace around the room and use the iPhone to cue the next slide.
After completing a few movies/animations I’ll be pretty much done preparing material for the conference, leaving plenty of time to perfect the software and get the 1971 VW Camper ready.
Got lucky yesterday. Found a site that had the entire LP of the 1974 classic The Portsmouth Sinfonia Plays The Popular Classics available as a download. I certainly don’t support intellectual property theft but this album has never made it to CD and I think the original record label is now extinct. The Portsmouth Sinfonia is the ultimate ode to amateurism: Take a bunch of English art school students --who either cannot play a musical instrument or are willing to play one they are unfamiliar with-- and put them into an orchestra. The only rules being that you had to come to rehearsal and you could not purposely play the wrong notes.
What resulted were renditions of the popular classics (Peer Gynt Suite, The Blue Danube Waltz, The William Tell Overture, etc) in which the inexperience and lack of talent produces a series of acoustic near-misses that collect into this cloud-like approximation of what the proper pitch and notes should sound like. Popular classics were selected on purpose since everyone in the orchestra would know the music and could at least aspire to what the piece should resemble--or at the very minimum whether they should be sounding higher or lower pitched notes.
Here is their rendition of Blue Danube Waltz, Op. 314 (Johann Strauss)
Beethoven was supposedly fond of listening to amateur productions of his work, and I’ve often thought that this would be among the most perfect of medical education paradigms.
Here are the .mp3 audio transcript and .pdf handout for the lecture that I gave at the 2008 New York State Naturopathic Association Conference. The audio is rather large for the Internet (40 mb), so be patient:
The handouts are in the form of a Adobe Acrobat file (pdf) so you can work through the lecture exactly as it was presented.
If you right-click and choose "Save As" you can download the files to your hard drive. If you find this information interesting, consider burning the lecture and handout files onto a CD and passing it along to friends and colleagues.