Saturday, May 09, 2009
Epigenetics is defined as the study of
- Changes in gene expression which occur in organisms with differentiated cells, and the mitotic inheritance of given patterns of gene expression, and
- Nuclear inheritance which is not based on changes in DNA sequence
Epigenetic factors that can influence the behavior of genes include:
Our genetic code, the actual sequential structure of our DNA, can pretty much shrug off the influence of any external environmental factors, short of massive radiation. However, the expression of individual genes within that sequence can be permanently altered by such seemingly innocuous influences as diet, exercise, sensory input, lifestyle or how others treat us (socialization). Once triggered, a group of molecules called a methyl group attaches itself to the control centre of a gene, permanently switching on or off the manufacture of proteins that are essential to the workings of every cell in our body. In most tumors, this DNA methylation pattern has been knocked awry, leading to a gene being completely deactivated or triggered to abnormally high activity.
Now, scientific evidence is emerging that these externally driven changes in the behavior of our genes might be passed down through the generations. For example, recent research has demonstrated that the sons of men who began smoking before puberty were more prone to obesity.
All of a sudden, we're staring personal responsibility in the face. Not only can our bad habits or noble attempts at clean living permanently change the way our genes act within us, they could very well have a significant impact on the quality of our children's lives. If DNA is the hardware of inheritance, the epigenetic operating system is the software, controlling the 30,000 genes that carry instructions for the proteins that make up our bodies and keep them running.
If left alone, the epigenetic changes that bad or good behaviors (sensory input) causes in research animals not only lasted a lifetime but was inherited.
The traditional idea that we are the passive carriers of our genes is being challenged by the notion that we are their custodians. Our lifestyles — what we eat, what drugs we ingest, how we utilize chiropractic care, how much we exercise, whether we smoke — plays a role in a chemical switching system that activates or deactivates our genes. There are signs that our behavior may program sections of our children's DNA, and that how we live may even affect our grandchildren's genes.
Synergistic Neurophysiological Efficiency:
Synergistic Neurophysiological Efficiency: Over time, all neural processing moves to the most energy efficient state. Neuroplasticity is driven by long term efficiency of the information processing NOT the long term survival needs of the individual.
Neuronal communication and computation are efficient when considered in the dual (synergistic) context of energy and information rather the either context alone.
Primary Neurocomputational Principle
Primary Neurocomputational Principle: Innate Intelligence maximizes the computational information developed by the neuron and its inputs to no more than the limit imposed by the information capacity of the axon whose capacity is set by optimizing the energy efficiency of its ability to signal other neurons (transmit the developing information).
Energy Use by the Brain: Organisms in the natural environment are highly efficient in their use of their available energy, and sometimes even more important, their cooling resources. That is, the use of food and water by organisms is often associated with processes that become sensible when we suppose one or both of these resources are scarce. And scarce they are at the margins, the place where evolution/ natural selection occurs fastest. It is at the interfacial niches of marginal survival that competition is most severe and mutations would be most beneficial, thus leading to higher rates of evolution. Clearly at such places of marginal survivability, energy efficiency will be very important. So we have good reason to expect that organisms are made up of and use energy efficient processes.
In this context of energy , neural processing is rather expensive. The adult human the brain accounts for20% or more of our total energy use and it consumes on the order of 20-25 watts. In young children, whose brains are nearly as large as an adults, the energy use by this organ can account for nearly 50% of the caloric intake.
Current research implies that more than 85% of the energy used by brain goes toward restoring the ion fluxes across neuronal membranes that are the biophysical basis of computation and communication in the neocortex. Thus neural informational processing although perhaps five to six orders of magnitude more energy efficient than man-made computation, is a considerable expense for the organism.
Because of such energy costs, natural selection (or intelligent design for maximal survival) has optimized energy use as well as information processing in constructing the way neurons compute, process, develop, filter, integrate and communicate.
In all of its functions, the brain seeks optimum efficiency, or the path of least resistance. If one particular function is not accessible, the brain will automatically go on to the next most efficient process for doing that particular task. If the second task is not available, it will go on to the third or the fourth most efficient way. Because each alternative process is less efficient, it becomes more stressful and energy expensive
The brain will keep searching for an appropriate processing method, until eventually the activity may become so subconsciously stressful (energy greedy) that the person will choose to give up trying to do the task altogether. If it is a conscious activity, the individual will give up the fatiguing activity. If the process is unconscious, the individual will decrease the energy partitioning to that process, making this unconscious activity minimized, nonfunctional or detrimental to the whole, depending on where the process is located in the physiological hierarchy.
Thalamic Integration and Filtering
Thalamic Integration and Filtering: The thalamus does not passively relay information from the sensory system to the cortex. Rather, via feedback from the cortex and the brain stem, the thalamus controls the type and amount of information that reaches the cortex. Recent scientific findings prove the thalamus plays a role in how the cortex functions. Cortico-cortical communication depends heavily on how messages are integrated, filtered and modified through the thalamus.
The complex cell and circuit properties of the thalamus leave little doubt that the relay of sensory information to the cortex is an active, adjustable and modifiable process. Thus, the full impact of the thalamus recent research has shown is much more than simply controlling flow of information from the periphery and from other parts of the brain to the cortex: it is the most active partner in all cortical computations.Integration in the thalamus is the sum of different driver inputs (highly prioritized afferents) to produce an output that differs qualitatively from that of any of the inputs. Filtering in the thalamus is the summing of different driver inputs (highly prioritized afferents) to produce an output that differs quantitatively from that of any of the inputs. So if the thalamus is intact, symptoms and dysfunction are the sum (integration and filtering) of different inputs into the thalamus. Symptoms, dysfunction and dis-ease are dependent on thalamic firing. Thus if the chiropractor can change input into the intact thalamus to move the CNS to produce a healthier functional status, the output will be health. The “nerve interference” is on the afferent side.
Drug firms control medical studies
Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 12:00 a.m. Pacific
Drug firms control medical studies
By Linda A. Johnson
The Associated Press
Drug companies that pay for major testing of most new medicines give participating university researchers little or no say in how studies are designed and how findings are handled, a survey found. The survey of 108 medical schools, published in today's New England Journal of Medicine, is the latest sign of growing concern about conflicts of interest between those doing scientific research and pharmaceutical companies sponsoring it.
"What the institutions have told us is they feel almost powerless in these contracts," said Dr. Kevin Schulman, a
professor who led the survey. Duke University Medical Center
While federal agencies sponsor much early research, large-scale studies of drugs' safety and effectiveness usually are funded by manufacturers. Typically, companies hire medical-school faculty members to carry out studies.
But some scientists worry their lack of control could threaten the integrity of research and the safety of participants. Among other things, pharmaceutical companies have sponsored research that found a drug didn't work or was dangerous, then suppressed the results.
Concerned about the problem, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in 2001 published guidelines for research contracts between medical schools and the pharmaceutical industry. Researchers at Duke University interviewed officials at U.S. medical schools last winter and reviewed some of their research contracts to determine how many complied with the new guidelines. Only a minority did.
Schulman said researchers have less and less control over patient trials as more and more studies include dozens of medical centers, a strategy meant to bring results faster.
Among the study's findings:
. Researchers rarely were allowed a say in the design of clinical trials,
with only 10 percent of contracts covering how data is collected and
monitored and only 5 percent covering how data is analyzed and interpreted.
. Fewer than 1 percent of contracts guaranteed that results would be
published and that an independent committee would have control over that.
But 40 percent of contracts addressed editorial control of manuscripts.
. Only 1 percent of contracts required an independent board to monitor
patient safety. Such boards can stop a study early if the treatment is found
to be harmful.
Financial ties between academic researchers and industry sponsors already are under scrutiny for apparent conflicts of interest, as when researchers receive stock in a company testing an experimental drug.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America last summer established voluntary guidelines for clinical research, but they are "basically toothless," said Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen, editor of theJournal. "The system would be better served if there were universally accepted contractual language," he wrote
Evidence or Eminence Based Medicine?
“Power to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
- The Entire Chiropractic Profession has only 70 full time researchers
· The drug company Pfizer has 12,000 full time researchers
- Less than 5% of full time DC Faculty at chiropractic institutions are involved in chiropractic research
- The total budget (for Everything) for all our chiropractic institutions is a mere $224 million
- Of that $224 million of the total budget, our chiropractic institutions spend only $4 million on research programs
receives $739 million a year from the NIH alone just to do research Harvard University
- In the entire 100+ year history of the chiropractic profession, chiropractic has received less than $10 million from the federal government to do research
- The top 25 medical schools received $6 Billion from just the NIH in 2000 alone
What are the results?
When one begins comparisons with medical / allopathic procedures, the statistics really begin to spin one’s head. Using a baseline figure of one per one million as an estimate of stroke incidence attributed to cervical manipulations (not just chiropractic, but all such procedures), one finds a:
· Two Times greater risk of dying from transfusing one unit of blood
· 100 Times greater risk of dying from general anesthesia
· 160-400 Times greater risk of dying from the use of NSAIDS
· 700 times greater risk of dying from lumbar spinal surgery
· 1000-10,000 times greater risk from traditional gall bladder surgery
· 10,000 times greater risk of serious harm from medical mistakes in hospitals
The 225,000 deaths per year attributed to medical iatrogenesis (allopathy) have propelled it to the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.
Absolute, testosterone charged, black and white statements by heroic allopathic physicians will have to give way to the gray world of reality and hard numbers brought to us by evidence and real science – rather than Eminence based medicine and allopathic-religious superstitions.