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SHHH, Our Cells are Trying to Talk

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Stem cell diagram illustrates a human fetus st...

Image via Wikipedia

The University of Utah has an excellent description of how our cells communicate both within and between each other. This communication starts with a stem cell and causes each cell to modify itself into a type of cell (e.g. blood, skin, liver, heart). Once a cell becomes a type like our nervous system all later communication and changes are within the constraints of those already made. Nervous system cells don’t communicate like blood cells. Our heart cells don’t suddenly become a cuticle cell and start growing fingernails. These epigenetic switches become permanent and influence the remaining life of the cell and its ancestors. Other epigenetic chatter changes a cell dynamically and can be adjusted to react to environmental changes. Hormones get released by one part of the body and can influence cells in another part. This chatter makes us who we are. It causes us first to be mammals, then humans, and then a unique individual.

Is Technology our Evolutionary Legacy?

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PhotonQ-Homer' s Evolution Theory

Image by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via Flickr

We are the only creatures that have managed to build technology, at least on this planet. We are building more and more sophisticated computers. Most scientists believe its only time until we build a computer with real intelligence. Will it have self-awareness? Maybe we are just following an evolutionary plan that started with DNA, evolved into epigenetics, created a brain and now has created technology that may be able to think. If this happens they may be as different from us as chimps are from us. One thing is for sure, epigenetics is a powerful tool and we should learn to use it to stay healthy and elliminate diseases. That also may be our destiny.

Are We Smart Enough To Understand Our Own Brains?

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Yahoo Health posted an article titled “5 Brain Myths Busted”. One was that we only use a small portion of our brain. In actuality we use a small portion at any one time but over the course of a day we use all of it. It makes sense that our brain is being used and not a mass of wasted neurons. Self awareness is an amazing reality but we are a long way from truly understanding the workings of the brain. Consider that neurons are in a logical network called a neural net that allows thinking. But neurons are cells like any other cell in our bodies that contain genes. These genes are triggered by epigenetic interactions. So we have several layers of programming going on.

How Big is our Gene Program?

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If you took the DNA from every cell in our bodies and laid it out end to end it would stretch 10 to the 29 power miles in length. That is an enormous distance! NOVA estimates the viewable horizon of the Universe as 28 Billion light-years wide. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second or 6 * 10 to the 12 power miles. Multiplying this by 28 Billion light-years yields 1.6 * 10 to the 23 power miles wide. So our DNA is wider than the known Universe. WOW! I know that each cell has the same DNA but the epigenetics are different. Cells act differently and operate under different environmental triggers. So we could view each cell as an intelligent creature or at least a computer that is operating on its own but communicating with all the other cells. That is complexity beyond our wildest dreams.

A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words

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epigenetic mechanisms

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Pictures help us better understand complex things. The epigenome is a very complex programming language that sits on top of our DNA, which is also very complex. This video shows how epigenetics is triggered ON/OFF in our genes. This triggering allows or disallows certain genes to express or activate their codes. The good news is we can change these triggering genes by a good diet, reducing stress and thinking positive.

Epigenetics and Healing See the Video

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A video discussing stress and epigenetics by Dan Jones can be viewed below. Dan discusses the healing process and the role of placebos and Nocebos on our health and lives. A Nocebo is when people tell you something negative and you begin to believe it. It then becomes true. Never tell your children they aren’t good at anything! It probably will become true because you told them it. After all children truly believe their parents at least to a certain age.  We have a major impact on each other. We actually believe what we hear. If several people tell us we are [anything good, bad, beautiful, ugly, smart] we begin to believe it. Once we start to believe the statement made becomes reality. Our reality! What do you think?

Are We Sculpting Our Genes?

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EPIGENETICS: Paul Brenner, M.D., Ph.D. and Daniel Vicario, M.D. discussing the effects of epigenetics at the San Diego Cancer Center. Dr. Paul Brenner says: “I believe that repetitive, formless, negative thoughts are the primary stresses that can turn a gene either on or off. I see it as a sculptor hitting granite with a hammer and chisel. We are the hammer and our thoughts are the chisel, the genes the stone.” The science is still looking at the chemistry of epigenetics but there seems to be mounting evidence as to the causes. What do you think?

Is Epigenetics Proof of God?

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This may not be a mathematical proof but if you think about it I am sure you will agree. I have been involved with computers all my life. Computer memory holds both instructions and data. What is the chance that bits in memory could just turn ON/OFF in a pattern that would be instructions that actually did something in a computer? Can you imagine Windows or an accounting program or photo editing software just coming together by accident? It takes intelligence to program a computer not random by chance events. Now how about us? Our DNA is a memory function that definitely holds instructions (genes) that get turned ON/OFF (epigenetics) and maybe data as well. I believe it is the same impossible chance that our genes just randomly came together and got turned ON/OFF in such a way to build all life on Earth and maybe all live in the Universe. We are programmed just like computers, like it or not! Some intelligent life-force programmed us. It was either God or some much higher intelligent alien life force. Which do you think programmed us?

Is Life Build from God’s Lego Blocks?

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The new arsenic based life that we spoke about yesterday, found in Mono Lake, California, seems to me to say that life can exist in many very different packages. It reminds me of the children’s building blocks from Lego. Lego’s come in a limited number of shapes and have holes to connect other blocks. There are rules on how to connect things (you have to use the holes). This is similar to amino acids that also have chemical rules on how they can connect. Both Lego’s and amino acids can build a vast number of structures from simple ones to very complex ones. Lego’s can also be used as a memory of sorts when you build a structure and then reuse it in more complex structures, like a basic car with wheels. Sometimes children build structures that won’t work in our environment. They weigh too much and topple over, gravity wins out and they fall. Nature also has built countless life that has failed because of the environment. Is it any wonder that DNA (a simple structure built from proteins which are amino acids) has adapted to the environment? This is why epigenetics is so influenced by our environment. The environment can destroy life. Life must then learn to adapt to it and change quickly if the environment it finds itself in has changed. Both Lego’s and DNA sometimes build a successful model. It then uses that to build upon it and create more and more complex models from the simpler ones. Lego’s and DNA also have another common trait, they don’t come with instructions. They both are built as experiments. Successful models are kept and failed models are forgotten. What do you think?

Evil Part 2

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This is the second of three parts on evil. How do we handle evil in our society? Clearly our prison system doesn’t work. If anything it creates more evil. We spend a huge amount of tax dollars on our prison system. Could we spend some of that on learning the epigenetic triggers in these people? Identify the differences and then figure out which environmental changes cause the triggers. If we could identify the cause of a trigger, we could reform criminals for a lot less than the costs of prisons. Of course that would put a huge number of people who work in and around prisons out of work. What is clear is the way we are dealing with it today is not working! If we do nothing it is bound to get worse. What do you think?

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