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Your genes are not your fate

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    One way to change our genes is to make new ones,
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    as Craig Venter has so elegantly shown.
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    Another is to change our lifestyles.
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    And what we're learning is how powerful and dynamic these changes can be,
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    that you don't have to wait very long to see the benefits.
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    When you eat healthier, manage stress, exercise and love more,
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    your brain actually gets more blood flow and more oxygen.
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    But more than that, your brain gets measurably bigger.
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    Things that were thought impossible just a few years ago
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    can actually be measured now.
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    This was figured out by Robin Williams
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    a few years before the rest of us.
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    Now, there's some things that you can do
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    to make your brain grow new brain cells.
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    Some of my favorite things, like chocolate and tea, blueberries,
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    alcohol in moderation, stress management
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    and cannabinoids found in marijuana.
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    I'm just the messenger.
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    (Laughter)
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    What were we just talking about?
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    (Laughter)
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    And other things that can make it worse,
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    that can cause you to lose brain cells.
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    The usual suspects, like saturated fat and sugar,
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    nicotine, opiates, cocaine, too much alcohol and chronic stress.
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    Your skin gets more blood flow when you change your lifestyle,
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    so you age less quickly. Your skin doesn't wrinkle as much.
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    Your heart gets more blood flow.
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    We've shown that you can actually reverse heart disease.
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    That these clogged arteries that you see on the upper left,
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    after only a year become measurably less clogged.
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    And the cardiac PET scan shown on the lower left,
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    the blue means no blood flow.
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    A year later -- orange and white is maximum blood flow.
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    We've shown you may be able to stop and reverse the progression
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    of early prostate cancer and, by extension, breast cancer,
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    simply by making these changes.
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    We've found that tumor growth in vitro was inhibited
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    70 percent in the group that made these changes,
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    whereas only nine percent in the comparison group.
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    These differences were highly significant.
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    Even your sexual organs get more blood flow,
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    so you increase sexual potency.
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    One of the most effective anti-smoking ads was done
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    by the Department of Health Services,
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    showing that nicotine, which constricts your arteries,
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    can cause a heart attack or a stroke,
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    but it also causes impotence.
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    Half of guys who smoke are impotent.
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    How sexy is that?
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    Now we're also about to publish a study --
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    the first study showing you can change gene expression in men with prostate cancer.
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    This is what's called a heat map --
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    and the different colors -- and along the side, on the right, are different genes.
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    And we found that over 500 genes were favorably changed --
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    in effect, turning on the good genes, the disease-preventing genes,
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    turning off the disease-promoting genes.
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    And so these findings I think are really very powerful,
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    giving many people new hope and new choices.
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    And companies like Navigenics and DNA Direct and 23andMe,
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    that are giving you your genetic profiles,
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    are giving some people a sense of, "Gosh, well, what can I do about it?"
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    Well, our genes are not our fate, and if we make these changes --
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    they're a predisposition -- but if we make bigger changes
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    than we might have made otherwise,
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    we can actually change how our genes are expressed.
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    Thank you.
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    (Applause)
Title:
Your genes are not your fate
Speaker:
Dean Ornish
Description:

Dean Ornish shares new research that shows how adopting healthy lifestyle habits can affect a person at a genetic level. For instance, he says, when you live healthier, eat better, exercise and love more, your brain cells actually increase.

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Video Language:
English
Team:
TED
Project:
TEDTalks
Duration:
02:53
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