Today begins a new monthly series on MTHFR Living where I’ll be rounding up the most interesting news over the last month on the topics of MTHFR, methylation, epigenetics and natural health. I may also include some related articles if I feel that they will be of interest. I hope you’ll enjoy these and learn some new things along the way! Just follow the linked URLs to the online articles. I’d love to discuss any of the items with you in the comments at the end of the post.
A few new developments emerged this month in the area of epigenetics, a body of knowledge that is inherent to many of the topics discussed on this website. New research on histones brings hope for the possibility of treating or preventing postoperative pain (from Newswise). Promising new treatments for diseases like cancer are based on epigenetic science (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN)). Research in the area of cancer continues to develop, for example this study on epigenetics and natural killer cells (Science Daily). Farther north, an article ran in Canadian mainstream media alerting parents to the fact that diet, environment and lifestyle can dramatically impact their children’s health (Calgary Herald). Fortunately epigenetics, long swept aside as the laughable snake-oil salesman to genetics’ lauded medical doctor, is finally getting the recognition it deserves (The Conversation).
Food and Health
Further along the epigenetic front, another mainstream media piece (and I love it when stories like this get a widespread audience) highlights the ways that a child’s diet could be to blame for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Fox News). In this piece from The Atlantic, Dr. Robynne Chutkan discusses the importance of food for overall health and how diet can be tied to conditions like rosacea, irritable bowel syndrome and hormonal imbalances. The more awareness that is spread over the link between what we are eating and the illnesses we are suffering from, the more likely we are to see positive changes in the laws governing our food supply. We had a win this month with the repeal of the Monsanto Protection Act, which would have prevented federal courts from stopping the sale and planting of genetically engineered crops (Alliance For Natural Health USA). But wars over organic food continue to be waged, albeit delayed due to the recent United States government shutdown (Cornucopia Institute).
Moving on to genetics, research continues into the genetic origins of different types of tumors, with hopes of more efficient treatments on the horizon (Los Angeles Times). This interesting psychiatric case demonstrates the use of precision medicine to effectively treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and the researchers engaged in whole-genome sequencing for the patient as a tool for further investigation (Science Daily). This technology is now being used to learn about the health problems that might be faced by newborns over the course of their lifetimes, with some ethical questions emerging as well (Huffington Post).
Frustrated by doctors who don’t know anything about MTHFR or how to assist with reading the results of genetic testing, many of us have taken to the Internet. Seeking health information from other people usually involves posting your sensitive information in online bulletin boards, on social media sites or in other forums. But is it safe to do so? Venture Beat asks just this question in this article, which asks whether Facebook can be trusted with important genetic information. A new paper by Kate Crawford of Microsoft Research proposes the use of due process to overcome any discrimination that may occur because of an individual’s genetic information being mined as part of big data. And you’ve probably heard of the testing company 23 and Me. This brand new article from Fast Company gets into some of the pros and cons of such genetic testing and implications for its use in healthcare in the future.
Finally, one new study about MTHFR hit my radar this month. While stroke risk is often associated with MTHFR C677T, new research has revealed that there is also an associated stroke risk for people with the A1298C mutation, particularly in the Asian population (Science Direct).
Have I missed any news this month that you thought was important? Please feel free to leave the link in the comments below.