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« Hospitals support Minnesota farmers, purchase locally grown produce | Main | Health leaders call for healthy Farm Bill »

January 06, 2011

Are genes for disease a mirage?

Is chronic disease mostly a product of environment, and not genes, as we've been led to believe? That provocative question is the focus for a new report by The Bioscience Resource Project. The report, "The Great DNA Data Deficit: Are Genes for Disease a Mirage?", concludes that for common diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancers, diabetes and others, "a significant role for genetic causation can now be ruled out with a high degree of confidence." This finding indicates that other environmental factors, like food, pollution, stress and tobacco use, likely play a larger role than previously thought. Interestingly, the four mentioned diseases—among the six leading causes of death—are all closely linked to an unhealthy food system and unhealthy eating.

David Wallinga, MD

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George in MN

I'm in the middle of reading Wilkinson & Pickett's book "The Spirit Level", and their assertion is that research goes further than just stress, to suggest a correlation and likely causal relationship between a society's income inequality and health. Another logical environmental source of disease.

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