Genes Change Your Risk for Disease, but Aren’t Necessarily Destiny

In 1951 essayist Norman Cousins wrote: “The hand that is dealt you represents determinism. The way you play your hand represents free will.” He was writing about the nature of man, but it’s not unreasonable to extrapolate his thoughts to the part that our genes play in our health.

The genetic material we inherit from our parents may be a blueprint, an instruction book used to build our body and to keep it running, but – for most of us – it doesn’t determine our fate completely.

Source: Genetics: Risk or Destiny?

Disease is one aspect; athleticism is another.  I’ll never be an elite athlete, but that won’t stop me from enjoying a hobby.

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).

Inherited Genes Control Your IQ, May Affect Exams

For once, a study with a substantial sample size!

We know that genes play a role in how well children do in school, but there are gaps in our knowledge: is this the same for different topics in school? And can this be explained largely by intelligence, or do other genetic factors contribute?

Source: Your inherited genes control your IQ and may affect how well you do at exams

Just linking genes and behaviours is still an area of furious debate, let alone figuring out the exact mechanisms by which those genes cause the behaviours in question. Hopefully studies like this one, that take us closer to identifying genetically-influenced traits, can also get us closer to figuring out the answer to that question.

Generalizing, look at animal behaviour for some insight.  Take a typical breed to see what attributes it has.  Labs are pretty consistent – loyal, happy, but destructive if you don’t keep them active.  Bernese Mountain dogs for me have been similar to labs, but shorter life spans.  Dachsunds have a lot of personality… I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone describe corgi’s as smart 😉

How Do Steroids Actually Work?

Steroids seem to have two functions: making people strong and screwing up their lives. We’ll take a look at how steroids accomplish both of these tasks. From bulking muscles to shrinking testicles, this is what happens when you put a steroid in your body.

Source: How Do Steroids Actually Work?

What the article doesn’t mention is that we’re getting more data on those who’ve used steroids, to know that users don’t loose a lot of the gains.  This is why steroid related bans are getting longer.

The other sad reality about profession sport is the reality that the majority of the top are using.  Once in a while someone gets busted…

Who is Healthier: ‘Foodies’ or Picky Eaters?

Food lovers may seem like the type who should watch their weight, but a new study suggests people who enjoy trying new and exciting foods may actually be healthier than those who are more picky.

Source: Who’s Healthier: ‘Foodies’ or Picky Eaters?

I think it really depends on what you eat, and volume of.  Beyond that, if we don’t enjoy it – we won’t do it.  So it makes sense why a foodie might be healthier.

Got acne? Lay off the B12

Vitamin B12 tweaks how genes behave in the facial bacteria of some people who normally enjoy clear skin. The activity changes of the facial bacteria promote inflammation and lead to pimples.

By shedding light on one mechanism behind B12’s role in acne, the UCLA finding may identify drug targets that lead to new treatments for acne.

Source: Got acne? Lay off the B12

The link is not new.  A study as far back as 1979 noticed the link, and acne breakout is listed as a side effect of taking B12 as a medication, (though acne breakout is listed as “rare”).  This study is fascinating because it revealed the biochemical mechanism of this relationship. While this research may not be clinically relevant to everyone, people on B12 supplementation (whether pharmaceutical or dietary), could potentially benefit from this study.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is much more common than having too much B12 in your diet. The culprit is either b12 pills, or things like Redbull and 5 hour energy. Don’t stop eating a healthy diet because there is B12 in it.

Scientists Discover the Genes for Supersizing Fruit

When Spanish explorers first brought domesticated tomatoes to Europe 500 years ago, the fruit was already gigantic compared with its olive-sized wild counterparts. Researchers trying to understand the genetic basis of this girth have uncovered a way to make other fruits larger as well. The team discovered this secret by studying two mutant tomato strains that had many branches coming off the upper part of the stem and that produced unusually fecund fruit.

Source: Scientists find way to create supersized fruit

Tomatoes are technically a fruit.  More specifically, they are berries, and the wild tomato was indeed berry-sized.

Everything You Need to Know About CRISPR, the New Tool that Edits DNA

CRISPR, a new genome editing tool, could transform the field of biology—and a recent study on genetically-engineered human embryos has converted this promise into media hype. But scientists have been tinkering with genomes for decades. Why is CRISPR suddenly such a big deal?

Source: Everything You Need to Know About CRISPR, the New Tool that Edits DNA

Everybody calls it CRISPR, but it’s Cas9 that does all the work. Ain’t fair.

What Made the Y Chromosome So Tiny?

The Y chromosome, a chunk of genetic code that is unique to male animals, isn’t just physically smaller than the X. It also contains far fewer genes. The X has more than 1000 genes, while the Y has fewer than 200 —and most of them don’t even work. Why do men have this odd, stunted chromosome in their genomes?

Source: What Made the Y Chromosome So Tiny?

Some animals already have lost the Y for good. And yet, they keep having male offspring. How? Nob0dy knows yet.