With Alzheimer’s and dementia increasing and baby boomers aging, it seems everyone from researchers to video game makers are focused on brain health like never before. And a lot of the results are encouraging: Turns out, ‘cognitive decline’ isn’t totally the crapshoot many once thought it was. A nutritious diet, keeping active, hormones and even a college degree can influence your chances of staying sharp while you age and avoiding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. But new research indicates that genes do have an impact on how much brain power you’ll lose over your lifetime—and to a much higher degree than ever before estimated. More
At 34, Dana Bushman and her husband moved from New York City to the California with plans to start a new, less-stressful life on the west coast. But within days of moving across the country, she got a phone call from her Dad: I just found out that I have a genetic mutation called BRCA1, he told her, and I might have passed it on to you. This set off a chain of events that led her to get her breasts, ovaries, and fallopian tubes removed by the time she was 35, just a couple of months later. Weeks after her second and final surgery, she talked with us about her decision, and what hereditary cancer risk means.
We don’t advocate blaming your mother for your body issues (even if she did make some off-color remarks about your weight as a child), but according to new research, our ability to overcome eating disorders is passed on genetically from Mom and Dad. Anorexia, bulimia, and overeating can be triggered by several factors, but a study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmcology says that chronic eating disorders may also be attributed to genetics. That might seem like bad news, but researchers hope that discovering the genetic links may improve treatment; we say it also doesn’t mean we’re doomed to inherit anorexia. More
My extended family is mostly women, and a lot of us share the same body type. We are not a particularly tall people, nor of ample bosom. What we lack up top, however, we make up for in hips. Most of us also have very prominent rear-ends. It’s a body type that can start out in life bringing all the boys to the yard but, without proper maintenance, it all goes south—literally. And that, my friends, is what scares me. More
Smoking Damages DNA Within Minutes – If you’re worried about the long-term effects of smoking on your lungs, get a grip: your smelly habit is far more damage than that, and quickly. Smoking causes genetic damage within minutes, research says. (ScienceDaily)
Turn the Lights Down Low – Studies find that we’re exposed to too many bright lights in the evening, limiting our bodies’ melatonin production (which, in turn, messes with our ability to get a good night’s sleep). (Vitamin G) More
Check out this post from Deborah Huso on AOL Health.
For those of us who always look admiringly at colleagues who seem to be able to breeze through anything regardless of whether they’ve had three hours of sleep or 10, there may be genetic clues as to why some people require loads of caffeine to power through the workday and others don’t. A new study points to the possibility that gene variants may determine everything from how easily we fall asleep to how many times we wake up in the night. More
We usually accept that our personalities and physical characteristics are some combination of what we learn during childhood, what we do as adults, and what’s hard-coded into our DNA, but in the last ten years, a growing number of studies are saying that their might be a fourth factor involved in making us who we are: Our “fetal origins”. TIME magazine’s recent article, How the First Nine Months Shape the Rest of Your Life explains the growing body of research proving that what happens in utero, not just genetics, could greatly influence our minds and bodies later in life. More
If obesity runs in your family, you might think it’s unavoidable. But research shows that moderate exercise can counteract the genes that are working against you. Just boosting your heart heart rate for 30 minutes a day reduces your risk of gaining weight while you age by 40%. More