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Beyond the blueprint

CommunityBlogsBryan Hubbard2013JuneBeyond the blueprint

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Bryan Hubbard is Publisher and co-editor of WDDTY. He is a former Financial Times journalist. He is a Philosophy graduate of London University. Bryan is also the author of several books, including The Untrue Story of You and Secrets of the Drugs Industry.

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Beyond the blueprint

June 26th 2013, 17:40
20,939 views

The whole of modern medicine rests upon the belief that, to a great extent, your future health is out of your control. Biologists and doctors in the main believe that the functioning and health of any organism are largely due to DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the coiled double helix of genetic coding within the nucleus engine room that holds the blueprints for the body's proteins and amino acids.

According to this idea, the central dogma of biology, the body gets created through an entirely self-sufficient process within its own boundaries: personality, physical characteristics, indeed the sum total of what defines us is crafted from the unique blueprint of DNA contained inside. Although we allow for the effects of emotional stress on our personal psychic development and of diet on certain aspects of our health, we assume that the raw clay of ourselves takes permanent shape and then sets and hardens largely from a process that moves outward from the gene through our cells to our organs.

The course of our lives, good or bad, is not thought to alter either our own genetic blueprint or the one we pass onto our children, other than through random mutations occurring over hundreds of generations.

Besides possessing the total power to control every aspect of our lives, our genes are supposedly the harbingers of a preprogrammed future. We are only as healthy as the genetic hand we've been dealt.

Or, to put it another way, genes are destiny.

In this issue, we take issue with this central dogma by examining the recent case of actress Angelina Jolie. Jolie, as you no doubt have heard, chose to have a double 'just-in-case' mastectomy because her doctors told her that her 'faulty' genes gave her an 87 per cent chance of contracting breast cancer.

As WDDTY has discovered, Jolie's cancer risk was far less than the doctors told her. In fact, scientists have begun to show that genes, far from being a blueprint, are simply a potential path that we may follow or not, depending on our life circumstances, and that certain environmental triggers like hormone replacement therapy are more likely to cause cancer than mutant genes (page 18 on July's issue of WDDTY Magazine).

Research shows that one of the most vital influences is the life we've chosen for ourselves: the friends we have, the partners we choose, the jobs we work at-the sum total of how we live our lives. As American doctor Lissa Rankin discovered, many of her 'health-nut' patients remained ill no matter how well they ate or exercised because they were unfulfilled in their work and relationships. In her view, the most important medicine of all is "living the dream" you set for yourself and learning how to reduce the stress response (page 58 on July's issue of WDDTY Magazine).

And no doubt the food we eat is a vital part of preventative medicine although, as Bryan Hubbard argues, today's food isn't what it once was, which is why we need supplements more than ever (page 25 on the magazine).

Consult our special symptom checker to see if any health issues you have are related to deficiencies of vital vitamins and minerals (page 26 on the magazine). Dr Harald Gaier, our medical detective, offers dozens of examples of illnesses prevented by eating your seven-a-day (as researchers now recommend), including all manner of cancers. And do check out our at-a-glance guide to which produce is least and most likely to be contaminated with pesticides (page 22 on the magazine).

And speaking of food, doctors told Alisa Vitti that her ovarian cysts were incurable and she'd have to live on pills, but she found her own healing path-through diet (page 62 on the magazine).

Pauline Carleton had a similar battle with medics who denied that her son's sleeping sickness was caused by a vaccine (page 82 on the magazine).

For all of you racing off to a holiday in the sun, this month we offer WDDTY's safe summer travel special. First port of call: before you automatically line up to get your travel vaccines, read about which ones have a spotty record of safety or effectiveness (page 32 on the magazine) and what you can do to protect yourself instead.

In our Healthy Shopping section, we offer the best bug sprays without nasty chemicals like DEET (page 74 on the magazine), and to keep your hair de-frizzed naturally, we've included the best natural hair oils (page 72 on the magazine). Despite what the doctor tells you, the sun is vital for your health and sun creams are possibly carcinogenic, so have a look at our 5 steps to safer sunning (page 45 on the magazine). And since it's swimsuit time, whatever your age Paul Chek will turn your rear view into something enviable (page 43 on the magazine).

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