Maybe You CAN Fool Mother Nature


The easiest ways to spot trends is to age. Not that I noticed I was aging.  Somebody pointed out to me I should be a “poster child” for senior citizens.  This left me a bit confused, since I did not notice I had become one. Gevalt!  I am 64, which means in one more year, I will become eligible for Medicare. Better check my pulse.

Many of the things I have long loved and followed have turned out to be dramatically different from the gig I signed on for. When my parents sent me to medical school, they told me that with my diverse set of interests, they were relieved I had chosen a profession where they would never have to worry about me starving or going broke. Also that I probably was unfit for marriage, but at least I could earn enough to make my way.

Not only am I married, against all odds, but doctors go broke and declare bankruptcy a lot, not to mention being far less revered.  They work 24 hour shifts now (not healthy for anybody) and have been terminated by some business established to save money by replacing them with nurse practitioners. When I signed on for this gig, there was an avalanche of research in genetics.  Studies of identical twins who had been separated found them identical in unpredictable ways, like using the exact same (highly obscure) brand of toothpaste.

Then there was a rush to “decode” the human genome.  I have a distinct memory of having read J. Craig Venter’s autobiography, which centered upon him being the first one to “decode” the human genome.  To me, it read like a chronicle of little boys playing games of ego, having a running-race or some similar kind of miniature athletic context. Of course, I had often sat at table with scientific researchers.  They all sounded like little boys playing “King of the hill.” The current trend in scientific research is very opposite.  Your genes are not your destiny; only a feeble power at best.  Understand your health by asking questions.

Then, take charge of your health.  For instance, The genes that are supposed to predict whether or not you are likely to get Alzheimer’s disease is of no real predictive value, and actually appears to be pretty easy to beat.

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