It was not the cookies!
This has been a remarkable week so far, I have had the opportunity to meet many new friends. Last night at the airport on my way to New York I met Kathy; she was a real interesting lady with a beautiful smile. It didn't take long to break the ice and chat about health and life, I was very touched when she shared that she had lost her grandson when he was only 3 years and 3 days. As you can imagine I felt immediately connected because I lost my son Marco when he was 2 years and 2 days. When I thought I was done meeting nice people I run into Janet, the coolest rental car assistant who upgraded me to a sporty red mustang.
I asked Kathy and Janet if I could answer any questions about Nutrition, one of them asked me about genetics and obesity as it appears that we all seem to be growing wider and rounder these days, their questions reminded me that not so long ago, we believed that the genetic code was essentially “set in stone", but check this out.
There is this new field called epigenetic. Epigenetic studies the ways in which the environment may interact with genes, switching certain portions on or off. Although the fundamental gene sequences that make up our DNA do not change, the ways those genes are expressed—or physically translated in the body—can be altered through several mechanisms. These “changes” are then passed down through subsequent generations.
So here is where the juicy stuff comes, because this goes back to your grandma's mom, yeah, your great grandma of all people. Like most women of her era, your great-grandmother may have been exposed to the notorious pesticide DDT during her child-bearing years. And that could spell trouble for you, your children and their children. How? New research suggests what exposure to the insecticide DDT may have done to our great-grandmothers is being transferred to you, weird, right?
This research has shown that DDT exposure in rats leads to a dramatically increased rate of obesity in later generations. Interestingly, the exposure does not lead to obesity among first- or second-generation rats. But more than half of third-generation rats became obese. Researchers worry that this old pollutant may still be causing harm, across generations.
It’s been more than 50 years since the publication of Rachel Carson’s seminal book, “Silent Spring,” which sounded the alarm about the environmental impact of widespread DDT use. Ironically, although DDT has been banned for decades, rising malaria rates in the developed world are prompting some experts to call for the renewed use of the mosquito-killing chemical.
If you think your great-grandmother may have been exposed to DDT, please let me know what you think about this story.
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