Does epigenetics give credibility to placebo effect and mind’s healing powers?

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In 2008, the National Institutes of Health announced that $190 million had been earmarked for epigenetics research over the following five years. In announcing the funding, government officials noted that epigenetics has the potential to explain mechanisms of aging, human development, the origins of cancer, heart disease, and mental illness, as well as several other conditions.

Even when you’ve inherited genes from your biological parents, they might or might not be active in your own makeup. When a gene activates, that’s called “genetic expression.” It turns out that genetic expression can be affected by your experiences and even by your thoughts and feelings.

More recent discoveries show that the epigenome can and does change during your entire lifetime. Alterations are made in response to your environment, which includes your surroundings, life experiences, diet, personal behavior, and even beliefs and perceptions (the placebo effect).

Epigenetics encourages the belief that problems caused by our behavioral genes can be fixed by our mind. The NIH division of Health and Human Services includes a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The NCCAM division reports on a wide variety of health products and practices. About 40 percent of our disposable income goes to those alternative and complementary therapies. They include acupuncture, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, Tai chi, qi gong, and so on. These mind-body therapies are not accepted as mainstream Western medical remedies since scientific evidence of their effectiveness is lacking. Any positive results from these therapies are generally thought to be due to the placebo effect.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Epigenetics and Well-Being

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