Well known metaphysical teacher Deepak Chopra and professor Rudolf Tanzi joined in a discussion centering on Professor Tanzi’s research, The Alzheimer’s Genome Project. In this discussion, Tanzi revealed his and his team’s groundbreaking research. Tanzi, neuroscientist and geneticist, and his team co-discovered three out of the four known genes that stimulate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The conversation ensued around the much asked question: Could a cure for Alzheimer’s disease be on the horizon?
Professor Tanzi is the director of aging and genetics at the Massachusetts General Hospital and is a world expert in Alzheimer’s disease.
The project’s goal is to completely eradicate Alzheimer’s disease by the next decade. In the recorded interview, Tanzi says that up until recently, not much was known about the causes of Alzheimer’s, never mind that specific genes influence it. The Alzheimer’s Genome Project is funded by the Cure Alzheimer’s fund who have calculated that two major Health insurance companies will be bankrupt due to the volume of Alzheimer patients statistics they say will be flooding the health sectors by 2015. Statistics show that 40 percent of 85-year-olds are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Professor Rudolf Tanzi and his team have divided their work into two sections since the discovery of the genes. The first avenue is to discover the remaining gene(s). Almost everything we know about Alzheimer’s disease comes from studying the related genes. Over 100 new genes in this sphere have been revealed in the last 5 years alone, hinting at the steadfast pace the research is travelling at.
Dr. Chopra suggests the discovery of over 100 new genes could mean that some lay dormant due to their governing signals and other factors such as lifestyle choices. Professor Tanzi says that by viewing the genes as a spectrum, we can see that some genes fall under the scope of having certain mutations which directly affect the onslaught of Alzheimer’s disease. However, this is only present in around 2 percent and the majority of the genes are found to increase susceptibility, and only as a human being ages.
Professor Tanzi says that the genes work amongst each other and alongside factors like lifestyle in the ignition of Alzheimer’s disease.
What is imperative to new discoveries in the eradication of the disease is to understand gene-to-gene collaboration, something that is a bit of a challenge. Before this can be done, however, Tanzi says that all the ‘players’ in the communication have to be known. The dominating reason for this focus on identifying all the genes involved is that it will enable the researchers – and laymen – to discover the communication and interaction of the genes.
The literal translation of Epigenetics is ‘that which is above the genes’; revealing to us that there is a governing system or force over the genes. By understanding the communication among the genes, we will begin to recognize what signals are being sent, and how they are being sent, in order to turn them ‘on or off’. This holds the potential for us to see how we can assume full responsibility for the dormancy or ignition of these genes.
An important question Professor Tanzi is asking in his research is how do these genes interact and how does lifestyle further influence this interaction and expression? He suggests that physical exercise is a significant preventative measure as physical exercise ‘turns on protective genes in the brain’.
The research is interesting as it is casting new light into a very misunderstood disease. The research also sits in contrast to many conventional ways of viewing medicinal and drug treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Could a cure for Alzheimer’s disease be on the horizon? Offering a possible alternative to simply numbing or masking the symptoms, this new research looks at eradicating the expression of genes of the Alzheimer’s disease and with the backing of corporate funding, we could soon see official reports that Western Medicine is understanding how to see the disease and henceforth root it out the system.
For a deeper understanding of Epigenetic studies, see here