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.
The New York Times had an extensive discussion of epigenetics in their February 24 issue:
The ideal of regenerative medicine is to convert a patient’s normal body cells first back into the embryonic state, and then into the specific cells lost to disease. But to prepare such cells safely and effectively, researchers will probably need to learn how to control and manipulate the chromatin of the epigenome as well as the transcription factors that shape cell identity.
Had a rather relaxing week in Jamaica. Beautiful weather and friendly people. It was nice to just sit around a pool and read something besides computer or medical textbooks. I confined my reading to mostly ancient history.
Since being back I've be messing around with Facebook, the social networking website that everybody seems to be on nowadays. I think it is much better than MySpace, since it does not allow you to alter the appearance of your pages all that much. I always found MySpace rather unsettling, what with all the blaring colors, poor quality videos and music on people's sites: most of which I prefer not to see nor hear.
When Facebook does allow you alter stuff, it is mostly in the form of applications ('Facebook Aps') which run inside of Facebook. Programming these applications can be perplexing, since Facebook uses may proprietary pseudo-languages and interfaces -and the documentation can be spare at times.
If anyone has been to my Facebook page recently, they'll already know this, but for those who have not, my first application called 'Is it right for your blood type?' is now up and running.
Of course, you'll have to be on Facebook to use it, but they make it very easy to join and it is a rather safe place overall.
The app is based on the TypeBase Program on this website, but also allowing you to search by foods (soy, celery, beef, etc.). You can add the app to your profile sidebar which then allows others to join and use it as well.
Like golf, learning new computer languages is occasioned by a rather irksome awkward stage, but I think I'm finally heading out of it. if you do use the app and find a bug please drop me a line and let me know.
In addition to the Facebook work this morning was spent doing a half-hour interview for Singapore radio with a charming young host. While on the radio I opened some recent mail and was pleased to receive three spanking new copies of the 'Allergies' book, which has just been translated into Arabic. It is wonderful to marvel at just how global this eating philosophy has become.
I think yesterday’s Grand Rounds at The University of Bridgeport went well. As seems to be the case more and more these days, I had a surfeit of material; much more than I could contain within the two hours allotted --even though I had limited the lecture to only the first part of standard presentation (‘Adjusting People to Genes’).
Dr. Natalie Colicci, my associate over at the D’Adamo Clinic and an alumnus of the Naturopathic Program at UB, thought it was a success and the students (third and fourth year) paid seemingly rapt attention.
It was nice to also see a few of my associates from bygone days including Dr. Eugene Zampieron, Dr. Leigh White and Dr. Ginger Nash-Wolfe.
UB/ND’s Dean, Dr. Guru Sandesh Singh Khalsa and Associate Deans Dr. Elizabeth Pimentel and Dr. Christina Arbogast Woolard have done a wonderful job getting this program up and running. After the lecture Dr. Arbogast gave us a tour of the teaching facility and the University Clinic, which was most impressive. I enjoyed meeting many of the students, administrators and faculty and was pleased to see that a generally positive, professional and pleasant tone permeated the facility. The UB Clinic sees a lot of economically disadvantaged families from the Greater Bridgeport area --many of whom would not normally be able to afford naturopathic health services on any sort of limited budget.
Dr. Arbogast and I talked about my doing some type of special shift in the Clinic, where students who were interested in my research could receive some in-depth training. I’m sure we’ll revisit this sometime in the future, but the idea of teaching in a clinical environment did seem very attractive to me, if indeed a new obligation would appear to be the last thing I need in my life right now.
They asked me to come back in April to finish up the lecture and perhaps delve into some of the epigenetics material as well. I was surprised to hear from the students just how many were already registered for the IFHI 2009 Conference.
How refreshing was this reception as compared to overall apathy and lack of acceptance I’ve received at Bastyr University, my own alma mater. One of undergraduates recently wrote to tell me that during one of the nutrition classes he attended, the instructor proceeded to describe my work with blood groups as ‘unscientific’ and followed that assertion with a description of the ABH Secretor System which my friend described as ‘not having one single correct fact .’
How different is this Bastyr University from the school I knew and loved.
Gerhard Uhlenbruck, everybody’s favorite lectinologist, recently wrote to let me know that he had penned the forward to a new book ‘Micronutrients’ by Uwe Grober (MedPharm) and kindly included a copy. Very nice book which I anticipate will get some thumbing-through over at the D'Adamo Clinic.
A recent review article on ‘Dietary Lectins as Disease Causing Toxicants’ written by Rabia Hamid and Akbar Mascod (Pakistani Journal of Nutrition 8 (3) 293-303, 2009) referenced three of my works in its citation list.
The second sentence in its abstract just about says it all:
It is now well established that many lectins are toxic, inflammatory, resistant to cooking and digestive enzymes and present in much of our food.
Maybe I’ll send a copy over to Andrew Weil.