Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Genetic Influences on Aging

I am listening to Drs. Roisen and Oz as they confront the issues of aging.

The book is called, You -- Growing Younger. There is much good news. According to the studies they have seen, some twin studies in particular, genes play only 25% in diseases and aging. They don’t believe that the genes can be changed, although I have seen other articles who assert that you can change your genes! But just to be on the safe side, let’s agree with Roisen and Oz and assume that your genes are stable, but you can influence whether they are turned on or not. They compare people to cities, and even to machines. They purport that the body is a magnificent machine designed very well to protect the genes by reproducing them. The genes do not protect the individual, but they do insure that the species continues.

They talk about evolution. Did you know that people with a certain recessive gene did not succumb to the Bubonic Plague? It was a rare characteristic before the Plague killed thousands of Europeans, but now it is not considered rare in Northern Europe, as only the survivors of the Bubonic Plague had the opportunity to reproduce. And in Florida, they say that Evolution is only a theory, and unproven at that! We are quite intellectual here: just as many people believe in alien abductions as in evolution. And you know that Global Warming can't be fact, because it was colder here a few weeks ago than it was last year at the same time! Good thing they didn’t poll Floridians on whether the world is flat or round. I have a feeling that they would find that most Floridians believe the photos from space and airplane pilots are just part of a grand conspiracy.

They explain physical systems of the body in very understandable terms. As I said they compare your body to a city or even a car. They say with progressive urban planning or with the right diet, you can extend your warranty for a few 100K extra miles! That's a good metaphor since many people drive their cars for 100,000 miles and people aspire to live 100 years or more.

They go over a lot of what Andrew Weil talked about in his book, but they are much more optimistic. Even though they are sure to point out all the dangers. I mean your body replicates billions of cells every day. But once in a while something goes wrong. And this is the beginning of cancer. Of course, cancer used to be fatal. Now many kinds are treatable and even curable.

It's a very practical book and I will include it in my references for the upcoming presentation of "The Hypnotic Fountain of Youth: How to Stay Young."

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