In a recent teleseminar sponsored by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, I learned the following from state of the art research in neuroscience:
- Somewhere…we learned to believ that genes made decisions… all of a sudden the gene would say, “Oh, time for cancer!” and then you would end up with cancer.
- What has been found with epigenetics is that genes are just…blueprints.
- Epigenetics is about the fact that we're beginning to understand who reads the blueprints, who engages the blueprints, and who can modify the blueprints.
- And guess who can read and modify them?”…Genes are in fact controlled by how we respond to or perceive the world around us.
- There's a tremendous amount of power in the life of an individual to influence the expression of his or her genes.
- The American Cancer Society very recently said over 60% of the cancer that we see in this world is basically due to lifestyle. You may have the gene but depending on how you live, how you respond, what your belief systems are, the expression of the gene can be modified.
One of our clients at Marraige Couples Counseling in New York City – a married guy in his late forties – provides a beautiful illustration of this, only with another disease, Diabetes Type II. A while back he had a sample of his saliva analyzed by a genetic testing service to determine his genetic propensity to be afflicted with 21 major diseases. It turned out that based on his genes he had a way above average probability of 50% of being afflicted with Diabetes Type II. He further had a high genetic propensity for obesity. Indeed the genes for Diabetes Type II and Obesity are linked by the FTO gene, commonly referred to by genetic researches as “The Fatso Gene.” So when our client and his wife got the test results they had a big, hearty laugh because this guy is 5′ 8” tall, weighs a lean 168 lbs and does resistance work in a gym four times a week with his personal trainer, in addition to one-hour bike circuits three times a week around Manhattan.
More from YourTango: 2 Vital Things You Need to Get From Your Couples Therapist
Given this dude’s lifestyle - and it should come as no surprise that his wife does Yoga three times a week - the odds are virtually Zero that he’ll ever be afflicted with Diabetes Type II or suffer from Obesity. And this doesn’t mean that he and his wife can’t hop over the Brooklyn Bridge once a month – on their bicycles, of course – for a large pizza washed down with a few cold Manhattan Brews at Grimaldi’s.
More from YourTango: Stuck in in a Rut in Couples Therapy?
When we meet with couples the first time, we take a full 2 hours to discover insights about their everyday routines that make it easier for them to formulate and put into practice behaviors that lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Andre Moore, M.A., Director of Marriage Couples Counseling and Life Coaching in New York City http://www.marriage-couples-counseling-new-york.com/