Genetically Speaking, You’re More Like Your Dad

You may have inherited your mother’s eyes, but, genetically speaking, you use more DNA passed down from your father. That’s the conclusion of a new study on mice that researchers say likely applies to all mammals.

We humans get one copy of each gene from mom and one from dad (ignoring those pesky sex chromosomes) that hasn’t changed. The same is true for all mammals. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that mom and dad genes are equally active in creating who we are.

Researchers now report that thousands of mouse genes show parent-specific effects, and that on balance, the scales are tipped in favor of dads. Studying whether this imbalance exists in humans could give scientists insights into the causes of inherited conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Source: Genetically Speaking, You’re More Like Your Dad

There’s No Such Thing As ‘Good Cholesterol’ Says Pivotal New Study

A surprising new genetic study shows that some people with naturally high levels of HDL cholesterol—the supposedly good kind of cholesterol—are at increased risk of a heart attack. Doctors are now further questioning the use of drugs to boost HDL levels while looking to new therapies to reduce heart risk.

Source: There’s No Such Thing As ‘Good Cholesterol’ Says Pivotal New Study

Sorry for the scare.

For the people with this genetic defect, HDL (“good”) cholesterol is not good because the defect destroys their liver’s ability to absorb fat brought to it by HDL.  In normal people, HDL still correlates with lower risk of heart disease.

Scientists Have Discovered the First Gene Responsible for Gray Hair

You can blame your parents for some of those gray hairs. A new study has identified the first gene known to be responsible for causing your hair to lose its color.

Source: Scientists Have Discovered the First Gene Responsible for Gray Hair

You can blame your parents for some of those gray hairs, but trust me – you get them from your children. 😉

E-cigs Shut Down Lots of Immune System Genes—Regular Cigs Don’t

It’s widely assumed that swapping cigarette puffing for vapor huffing is better for health—after all, electronic cigarettes that heat up and atomize a liquid concoction can skip all the hazards of combustion and smoke. But researchers are still scrambling to understand the health effects of e-cig use (aka vaping) and to track down the variable and undisclosed components of those vaporized mixtures. The most recent data hints at unexpected health effects unique to e-cig use.

Source: E-cigs shut down hundreds of immune system genes—regular cigs don’t

It seems the flavoring and other additives are the biggest issue. Most non-tobacco vape substances I’ve seen have been pure extracts without any additives. Now its possible things left over from the extraction process might be an issue but there’s not much research on that yet probably due to the legalities of it.  Cinnamaldehyde has very strong irritant properties (it directly activates one of the main sensors of nasty chemicals)…

If it suppresses the immune system, I wonder if vaping would actually be beneficial for those with autoimmune diseases? We automatically think of a weak immune system as “bad”, but some people’s immune system is so strong that it’s hurting/killing them.

This Genetic Alteration Could Prevent the Next Potato Famine

Unlike humans, plants only react to infections when they sustain specific kinds of damage. Now we know that the solution is to get them to produce special “decoy” proteins that can be damaged, in order to get the plant to spring into action.

Source: This Genetic Alteration Could Prevent the Next Potato Famine

But could anything grown with this in the genome be sold in the EU?

This is a GMO. Kudos to the folks who came up with and implemented this idea.

Poverty Stunts IQ in the US, But Not in Other Developed Countries

As a child develops, a tug of war between genes and environment settles the issue of the child’s intelligence. One theory on how that struggle plays out proposes that among advantaged kids—with the pull of educational resources—DNA largely wins, allowing genetic variation to settle smarts. At the other end of the economic spectrum, the strong arm of poverty drags down genetic potential in the disadvantaged.

Source: Poverty stunts IQ in the US but not in other developed countries

Perhaps the difference in results between the US and other countries is that other countries tend to have a cohesive national curriculum that is unified, plus more evenly distributed education funding and better distribution of good teachers, whereas the US’ educational system is piecemeal and broken down by state and municipal subdivisions, with the poorest regions being where the worst teachers are dumped and with terribly distribution of education funding

How Much Does Genetics Really Affect Your Fitness?

If you’re not seeing results in the gym, there are a lot of things you can tweak: your diet, your exercise schedule, and the types of workouts you do, to name a few. But genetics is also a big factor. We’ve all had that thought on bad days: Maybe I’m just not cut out to succeed at this.

Source: How Much Does Genetics Really Affect Your Fitness?

Height is considered ~80% heritable, but malnourishment and/or disease can stunt your growth.  If you’re really serious about addressing your height, limb-lengthening operations (cosmetic surgery) are a reality.  But tot only are they ridiculously expensive, but they also involve having your legs broken!  To lengthen limbs, the bones are broken to be spread so the body fills the gap by healing.   Anti-inflammatory painkillers can’t be prescribed because they might inhibit bone growth.   At a rate something like a millimeter a day, the apparatus is tweaked daily.  Some have achieved 6 inches, but most seem to be 2-3 inches.  Surgery would require someone like me to be off blood thinners, so far less likely that anyone will want to do the surgery for you.

All that said, for me part of the process has been about accepting what I can not change.

Study: The Body Shape That Protects Women From Diabetes

I’m in shape – “round” is a shape.

Pear-shaped women are “significantly” less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those with smaller hips, according to new research.

The findings, which were presented this weekend at the American Society of Human Genetics’ annual meeting, traced the connection to a genetic variation carried by women with hips that are larger in comparison to the rest of their body.

Source: The Body Shape That Protects Women From Diabetes

Regardless, as we gain weight – the likelihood of getting [type 2] diabetes increases.

Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

If you’re completely satisfied with your health, don’t read this article. This is not for you. Give yourself a pat on the back, and save yourself the scrolling. For the rest of you, approach what I’m about to say with an open mind, and maybe you can come out of this a fitter person.

Source: Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

This article really is about getting the conversation with yourself started.  It doesn’t talk about long term, re-evaluating periodically.  A plateau is a more obvious sign about re-evaluating – not too late, but can be.

I’ve made some changes in diet in the last six months or so.  Weight loss is part of the training agenda, while noticing that I should probably eat more protein.  But the changes also appeared in my INR tests – my levels having consistently been in the 3.5 range.  A bit of a concern – higher chance of bruising/internal bleeding.  My doctor started taking notice, test in two weeks rather than monthly.  So made another change, which I’m hoping suits all goals – natural food source, a bit more vitamin K intake to level off the INR, and cheaper than what my second breakfast was (besides healthier).

Deleting Genes Could Boost Lifespan by 60%

The secret of extending life by decades may lie in switching off certain genes, scientists believe, after showing that small genetic tweaks can make organisms live 60 per cent longer.

Source: Deleting genes could boost lifespan by 60 per cent, say scientists

Don’t get excited just yet – they’ve only done this with yeast.  But claim the genes deactivated were specifically mammalian related.  Not even mice yet…