images-11-150x150The fast growing field of epigenetics is proving that who we are is the product of the things that happen in our lives which cause changes in how our genes operate.  Genes actually switch on or off depending on our experiences.  In other words, a person is born with certain genes, but what happens in their life determines which genes get expressed and which genes don’t. Hence, our environments are expressed through our genes.

Many studies have confirmed that people with a certain gene combination are more affected by stress in life which leads to a genetic susceptibility or vulnerability, for example, for depression, behavioral problems, or violence.  This specific gene combination only becomes toxic when combined with stressful life events.  These people have emergency brains which react more vigorously to feelings of danger making them more vulnerable when things go wrong.  However, individuals with a different gene combination appear to sail through life’s adversities with very few negative consequences.  (For more information see blog: Nature or Nurture?)

In her book Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain, Elaine Fox tells of the work of psychologist, Jay Belsky, who thought to take a closer look at these studies from a new perspective.   Upon re-examining many studies, he discovered something hidden in the data that had been previously overlooked.  It turns out that people with the “vulnerability” gene combination were at greater risk when things went wrong, but the same genes also caused them to be of greater benefit when things went right.

Fox concludes that:

So, rather than the serotonin transporter being a vulnerability gene or an optimism gene, if it is a gene for anything, it is likely to be a “plasticity” gene: those with a low expression form are simply more open and reactive to their environment and therefore will benefit from great facilities and support but will also be more severely affected by abuse and lack of support.

….What happens to us at even a very young age can have long-lasting effects.  These influences are the effects of the environment, yes, but they are the effects of the environment working through our genes.

Epigenetic research is even showing that the changes made in how our genes operate based on life events can be passed on to the next generation. Fox writes:

This shows us that making bad decisions when we are young not only effects our own well-being but also that of our children. Environmental events like famine or whether we smoke, can leave an imprint on our genes that can be passed to the next generation.  The things we experience, our diet or lifestyle, can control an array of switches or markers that switch genes on or off in powerful ways.

These findings are in contrast to the traditional Darwinian theory of evolution which says that genes change very slowly over many generations.  (Yet another case of something being “right” only until it isn’t right anymore.  See blog: My Reality Is Not Your Reality)

This information causes me to believe even more vehemently that we have much more power than ever believed to influence our realities – right down to our genes – and even that of future generations.  Nobody can control what has happened in the past which may have caused certain genes to switch on, but everyone has the power in this moment and going forward to choose their behavior and perspective which causes different genes to express themselves.

 

 

 

immortal jellyfishThroughout history are stories of mankind’s attempt to find the secret to immortality; this desire has known no geographic, religious or time related boundaries. (more…)

Aerogel 80 years old and still looking goodAerogel is the story of an 80-year-old invention with incredible potential, it’s still looking good after all these years. In the late 1920’s an American chemist Samuel Kistler working with colleague Charles Learned developed a new substance called aerogel. (more…)

Doctor Grim

Who was Ignaz Semmelweis?

Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician. If one judges scientific discoveries by the maximum number of lives saved with minimal cost and effort, Semmelweis’s discovery was one of the greatest scientific discoveries ever. So why have I never heard of him before? Perhaps because nobody believed (or wanted to believe) his preposterous contention:  the number of hospital deaths could be significantly reduced if only doctors and medical students would wash their hands between dissecting the dead and examining the living. (more…)

We live in a Holographic Universe.

HolographicThe Holographic Universe our 4D Model of reality, looks and feels real. Our Mind can play Tricks on us. Keeping an open mind to this idea could change our image of human nature, our culture, our history, our beliefs, our understanding, even our reality. There is evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it, from snowflakes, to pine trees, stars in the sky, to spinning electrons, even our DNA, are projections from a level of reality, beyond both space and time.

(more…)

ParthenonThe Parthenon, the ancient Greek temple to the goddess Athena, is often thought of as a symbol of architectural perfection. From a distance it does look perfect, but upon close inspection, it becomes apparent that it is precisely imperfect. The floor curves, the columns lean, and there are hardly any right angles and barely a straight line. Even the individual pieces of the structure are unique and non-interchangable. (more…)

obesityThe scientific data regarding obesity is compelling. In the United States our toxic food culture is; shortening our lives, increasing our weight, adversely affecting our health and our mental well-being. Our food has actually become our poison. (more…)

happy accidentsHave you ever been frustrated when things did not turn out the way you intended? Well this is a list of 5 inventions considered failures and are what I call happy accidents. These should inspire you to change your perspective the next time things don’t go your way. You could be on the verge of a new breakthrough. Check out these out: (more…)

Plastic Packaging SustainabiliyPlastic packaging and sustainability; is plant-based plastic the answer we are looking for, the environmentally sustainable “cure” for our insatiable plastic consumption? (more…)

Agribusiness is a cautionary tale of science diverging from environmental harmony. Science can profoundly change our way of life. However, science deals with data not values, so we must always be aware if they are in harmony with the environment.

(more…)

Fractals: Patterns of the Universe Within the UniverseFractals…they are all around us, in Nature and in the Universe. Fractals are mathematical sets, from which arise detailed patterns of self-similarity, which means the pattern of a given fractal repeatedly repeats itself. The Universe itself is full of repeating patterns, from electrons circling an atomic nucleus to moons orbiting planets and planets orbiting stars. Fractals: patterns of the Universe within the Universe within the Universe…ad infinitum.

 

 

(more…)

Garbage ToxicIn my quest to explore how organisms eliminate waste, I instinctively grab my most NON-SCIENTIST-friendly science book (Help Your Kids With Science: A Unique Steo-By-Step Visual Guide) and open to the chapter entitled “Waste Materials.” This chapter explains how waste is anything an organism can’t use which, if allowed to build up, can become toxic. The simple chart shows how various organisms tackle elimination of waste in different ways.

Suddenly, the picture of the crocodile crying commands my attention. “Crocodiles do indeed cry,” the caption says, “but their tears are not emotional ones. The tears carry away unwanted salts from the body.” If crocodiles can effortlessly flush out potentially toxic salts, I ask myself, why can’t we effortlessly flush out those emotions threatening to do us the greatest harm on a daily basis? (more…)

Pareidolia Face on MarsPareidolia is the propensity we have as human beings to perceive patterns or objects within things such as ink blots, clouds, potato chips or the surface of the moon. The Rorschach test, originally developed to diagnose schizophrenia, is a well known scientific use of this phenomenon. People described what images they saw in these so-called random blots of ink. Another famous case of pareidolia is the man in the moon, or the image of a human face people observe on the face of the moon. (more…)

 The role of association: Making LOTS of connections when learning and remembering.

neurons_mainThe previous post discussed how learning and remembering is easier and faster when you associate new knowledge with old. This enables the brain’s memory pathways  to anchor onto established memory pathways and become more stable.

 

(more…)

DCF 1.0Clouds are such a marvelous artistic manifestation of the water cycle.  Clouds are formed when water evaporates on earth; the water vapor rises and condenses (turns into liquid again) onto microscopic dust particles cruising around in the sky. They give the appearance of these light and fluffy almost cotton-like structures effortlessly floating above us in the atmosphere. (more…)

Pepper and Buddha with leafPondering theoretical physics turns out to be rich grounds for those interested not only in self-awareness but in integrating their self-aware views with holistic notions of God or oneness. Great goal!  Still, don’t let yourself get sidetracked by scientific glitter and promises any quicker than you would sell everything and follow a guru to the ends of the earth.   (more…)

learning and remembering. NeuronssLearning and remembering faster and more easily through association.

Learning and remembering becomes much faster and easier when we connect old information and skills, to the new information and skills we want to learn and remember. This is because new memory pathways stay stronger and more stable when connected to our established memory pathways  about ‘doing’ a similar skill. (more…)

brain-neurons_849_600x450

An important key to learning and remembering new information is to give it your attention!

 

The human brain may contain up to one trillion neurons. These nerve cells are interconnected, as shown in this microscopic image, so that they can transmit electrical impulses—and information—to other cells. (more…)

CosmosCosmologists study the universe in its totality: the origin, the structure, and the processes. By studying the planets, the stars, meteorites, and space itself, astronomers search to understand the past and the origins of both the universe and of ourselves. They are like the archaeologists of the universe. Here are five amazing facts that they have discovered that show that we are the cosmos:

(more…)

The importance of practice when learning and remembering new skills

Your children often need more practise in learning and remembering knowledge and skills than school timetables allow for.

learning and rememberingIs your child:

  • Having difficulty remembering particular skills?
  • Not understanding some new knowledge?
  • Hating or not confident in certain subjects?

Perhaps they have issues with all of those?

Revise, revise, revise to make learning and remembering effortless.

It is vitally important your child practise key reading, writing, and Mathematics skills and knowledge until learning and remembering them is effortless and automatic.  The brain’s memory pathways grow physically larger when they are regularly used. When your child does not get enough practise in learning and remembering new skills and knowledge, those memory pathways fade away easily, especially when they are not connected to other memory pathways so they are anchored and strong.

(more…)