Americans, including those well educated and very intelligent, have only a modicum of understanding what science is, how it is carried out, and that breakthroughs in science do not occur around a conference table with CEOs or prestigious professors coming to breakthroughs in science around a conference table.
Just like investors, we scientists tend to have a herd mentality and have all the attributes and failings of all humans just because we are all human. We also tend to protect our own old ideas and accomplishments as if they were a limb or vital organ. Keep this in mind. We are all very imperfect, especially in what we tend to believe and accept and reject just like other people.
These days with more women and non-European ethnic groups excelling in science and other fields, we have become more entrenched in our old beliefs to avoid cognitive dissonance.
(Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance )
This is seen clearly in the realm of our political and religious beliefs which brings out strong emotional cognitive dissonance to reject ideas contrary to those we own. The same occurs with scientists because we are human and this has occurred among some Alzheimer’s scientists who cannot still believe that it is not just genes, but our poor diet that is the major cause of developing this dreaded disease whether for the very minor genetic reasons or for the large majority old age cognitive decline due to our poor diet. www.doctoroz.com
In India, for example, Alzheimer’s is not a serious a problem. Helps to eat a poors man’s diet except for Americans who can only afford to buy fast foods packed with calories and sugar to allay their hunger pangs for a short time which can be cheaper than buying food at the supermarket. Older Mexicans here are in good health because they could only afford beans for protein, but the young ones on fast food are the most obese with diabetes an epidemic. Beans are my primary source of proteins.
Even Autism is likely due to blocking of vitamin D3 formation by the widespread use of UVB sunscreens allowing the melanoma causing UVA to penetrate our skin in the same way it can go through car window glass. UVA is about 98 percent and UVB about 2 percent of the sun radiation. It explains why Autism is a disease of the affluent.
Yes, UVA goes through clouds too which may explain why melanoma is high in Ireland where they don’t have enough UVB which is blocked by clouds to form vitamin D3 which helps protect against melanoma. The authorities are recommending more sunscreen use and if this economically deprived country uses the fake UVA block cheaper sunscreens, the malady will only worsen. The higher than usual level of schizophrenia there may be a similar phenomena due to a lack of UVB blocked by clouds.
It is no accident that many of these diseases were initiated due to deregulatory policies of Reagan and others. If Big Pharma says it is safe and effective, it must be policy. Bush, Jr., added Monsanto lobbyists in the FDA and possibly in the patent department at high levels to allow GMO foods which became patentable. Round Up weed killer is now found to be much more toxic to us than previously acknowledged.
Residues of partially decomposed Round in all our foods many be toxic to humans as recent research seem to indicate. No problem for Monsanto. The media has ignored this frightening news. Making Round Up at one place in the USA is causing severe ground pollution because many toxic compounds such as uranium are removed from the phosphorus used in production.
Although epigenetics is new and explains why our effort in finding genes to cure our diseases has not gone well as we expected, it has not caught on because it is a difficult science and only Big Pharma seems to have gone full force because of the huge economic implications.
They are really worried that vitamin D, a cheap epigenetic agent discussed in Holick’s book and a change in our diet may fix many of the ills that we now experience including cancer, bacteria and virus infections, Alzheimer’s, obesity, and a whole host of diseases common now as well described in the research of Professor Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D., Boston University Medical School in his book The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problem. April 2010.
Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and subsequent books are a must read. He looked at all the diets of humans from the past and present and made the alarming conclusion that the so-called American diet of manufactured diet is the only one that makes us sick! He adds that if a manufactured food has more than FIVE additives, don’t eat it!
Also add High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which we eat and drink up to 150 lbs a year. The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout That Is Making You Fat and Sick, by Richard J. Johnson, M.D., with Timothy Gower. For whatever reasons, this sugar forces us to eat more as the Princeton study with rats showed. Equal calorie amounts of HFCS and cane sugar were given to genetically identical rats along with unlimited amounts of rat chow. The HFCS rats became obese from overeating rat chow while the cane sugar one did not. It is more than calories. Regular sugar satiates our appetite while HFCS cuts it off and we eat more.
Here is an excerpt of the fairly clear blog explaining why Epigenetics is so important by a senior in biology at the University of Chicago.
Jim Kawakami, May 14, 2011, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com
Excerpts Epigenetic Blog: … While the discovery that layers of information beyond DNA sequence are equally important to life is in many ways as fundamental a revelation as the discovery of DNA, it has not received such widespread recognition. This is surprising, considering that there are medical implications from choice of diet to cancer treatment. Epigenetics, as this fascinating range of mechanisms is called, deserves your attention and imagination because for the foreseeable future this new paradigm will be behind advances in our understanding of multicellularity, genome-environment interaction, and human disease.
All of the cells in your body have the same genetic code, and hence the same set of instructions, but carry out drastically different functions. This begs several questions. How does a cell know which instructions to carry out? How can the genetic instructions of a cell or an organism respond to their environment? How can some cells become cancerous while others remain healthy? …
DNA, by itself, does not do anything. It is chemically inert, and the information it contains is only relevant when accessed by proteins and RNA machinery. The central idea of epigentics is perhaps that the genomic information is not just a jumble of sequence to be read in a linear manner: the information is finely organized through a series of overlayed mechanisms that control how that information is utilized. …
Epigenetic mechanisms explain why two individuals with extremely similar genome sequence can have different physical characteristics. Identical twins have identical genomes, and are epigenetically identical at birth, but as they age, different environmental factors cause their methylation and histone modification profiles diverge, and they end up with differing patterns of gene expression and disease . These changes arise within a single lifetime, but some epigenetic traits can be inherited across generations. For example, the diet of pregnant mothers can change DNA methylation patterns in the fetus, which may lead to various diseases later in life for their children . …
Epigenetics: What It Means and Why You Should Care, Justin Demmerle, May 12, 2011, Justin Demmerle is a fourth-year biology major at the University of Chicago. Please join The Triple Helix Online on Facebook. Follow The Triple Helix Online on Twitter.
The central idea of epigentics is perhaps that the genomic information is not just a jumble of sequence to be read in a linear manner: the information is finely organized through a series of overlayed mechanisms that control how that information is utilized.
Fundamental shifts in the way we understand our world and ourselves are rare, and when they do happen it is often with uproar. When discovery of the DNA double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 showed us that all of nature was bound together by a common molecular mechanism, it was assumed that the information held by the DNA sequence would be the primary determinant in the biology of any organism.
After the last forty years of biological research and the completion of the human genome sequence a decade ago, the overwhelming realization is that the information contained in the DNA sequence alone is only a fraction of the total information needed to animate the cell, coordinate multicellular behavior, and orchestrate life’s unfathomably complex sequence of biological events. … http://triplehelixblog.com/2011/05/epigenetics-what-it-means-and-why-you-should-care/