Epigenetic effects on genetic diseases

This 2017 review provided evidence for epigenetic effects on a disease widely considered to be of genetic origins:

“..for a T1D [type 1 diabetes] identical twin the concordance rate (both twins affected)..is consistently less than 100%, which implies a non-genetically determined effect. However, the concordance rate declines with age at diagnosis of the index twin, indicating that in adult-onset T1D the genetic impact is limited, and certainly lower than that in childhood-onset disease.

Genes associated with T1D are well-established and have four broad functions..However, T1D is unlikely to be a single disease since there is disease heterogeneity..the incidence of T1D has even increased several-fold in the last 30 years-a timeframe which rules out genetic evolution. In addition, studies of the incidence of T1D in migrant populations have shown a convergence towards the risk of the host population.

Alongside histone modifications and transcription factors, several cis-regulatory elements, including enhancers, promoters, silencers and insulators, are crucial to the function of the genome..There are more than a million enhancers; therefore, many more than there are genes, so that a number of genes are regulated by the same enhancer, which may co-localise with CpGs. Gene enhancers can be found upstream or downstream of genes and do not necessarily act on the closest promoter..Enhancers may be accompanied by insulators, which are located between the enhancers and promoters of adjacent genes and can limit phenotypic gene expression despite genetic activation.”


The review was weak in a few areas. The authors repeated a laughable claim for gross national product as a non-genetic effect for Type 1 diabetes. They also made other hyperbolic statements such as “..this observation illustrates the power of epigenetic analysis to identify those cells which are actively using the genes associated with a given tissue, given that all cells contain every gene..” that were out of place with the review’s evidential bases.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11892-017-0916-x “The Role of Epigenetics in Type 1 Diabetes”

What are we to believe?

This 2017 blog post from Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo outlines the latest instance of exploiting beliefs:

“..neither the sources of this story nor those who are reporting it can be trusted..journalism is not a means of discovering knowledge, but a weapon to be deployed in a political-ideological conflict.”

Similar to the development of other beliefs, this current one discourages inquiries into “..information about the real world..giving us a highly distorted version of events.” It follows the blueprint of Using citations to develop beliefs instead of evidence in that once the faulty information becomes widely cited, refuting evidence is ignored, and the false belief is used for other purposes.

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/08/10/what-are-we-to-believe/ “What Are We To Believe? Fake news plus phony “intelligence” equals disaster”

Using citations to develop beliefs instead of evidence

This 2009 Harvard study analyzed how citations were used as tools to establish a belief.

The researched data was gathered from 1992 to 2007 on a specific subject of Alzheimer’s research. The belief was that “β amyloid is produced by inclusion body myositis myofibres or is uniquely present in inclusion body myositis muscle.”

The author used social network analysis to determine:

“..four primary data papers, five model papers, and one review paper constituted the 10 most authoritative papers..that the claim was true.

The supportive papers received 94% of the 214 citations to these primary data, whereas the six papers containing data that weakened or refuted the claim received only 6% of these citations.

95% of all citation paths flow through four review papers by the same research group..Amplification of a claim is instead introduced into belief systems through the citing of review papers and other papers that lack data addressing the claim.”

Some of the benefits believers received included:

  1. It became easier to build models if a researcher believed “..animal and cell culture experiments are valid models of inclusion body myositis” although “The uncited data suggest that the animal and cell culture experiments are no more models of inclusion body myositis than any other neuromuscular disease in which muscle regeneration occurs.”
  2. Believers used exaggerations in their confirming research that diverted the original claim’s meaning. As an example, “..three supportive citations developed into 7848 supportive citation paths—chains of false claim in the network.”
  3. Citation biases and diversions could be used to support proposals for new funding.

Just imagine how compressed this phenomenon’s timeframe is now with our social networks! The tools available for creating memes and widespread nonfactual distortions are children’s play.

A few questions:

  • What do we believe in that isn’t thoroughly investigated, where we haven’t found the time or inclination to search for opposing results?
  • What causes us to believe these things?
  • What are the positive and negative consequences of our beliefs?

http://www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b2680 “How citation distortions create unfounded authority: analysis of a citation network”

Hat tip to Jon in the comments section of Neuroskeptic’s blog post “The Ethics of Citation” http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2017/03/12/the-ethics-of-citation

Hope sells

I used a browser yesterday that didn’t have ad blocker software installed. The below pictures came from one of the ads that displayed:

helpless

hope

A young girl in a dance position and outfit juxtaposed with an appeal: “No situation is HELPLESS because there is HOPE.” How interesting!

I didn’t click through the ad yesterday to see what was being sold by engaging customers’ beliefs, within which lay hope. When I clicked the ad today, it asked for donations to “Sponsor a Child,” develop “the perfect recipe for sustainable success,” and, at the bottom of the page, “We love because Jesus loves.”

What do we know about this ad’s appeal from reading Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief? Can hope change a helpless situation per the ad?

On one level – yes, in a believer’s brain, by blocking helpless feelings. Otherwise – no. Hope ultimately isn’t a remedy for the causes of what created helpless feelings.

I donated to a similar organization for a few years, but not anymore.

Beyond Belief: What we do instead of getting well

Continuing Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief:

“p. 61 Heavy pains with no place to go just pressures the cortex into concocting an idea commensurate with the feeling..The feeling itself makes no sense since the original feeling has no scene with it nor verbal capacity; it was laid down in a preverbal time without context, sa[v]e for the feeling itself.

..we cling to those ideas as strongly as the feelings driving us are..Sometimes we argue with someone not realizing that we are battling a defense which is implacable. They don’t want to hear what we have to say. They want to protect their psyche.”

“p. 63 ..suffocation at birth is registered not as an idea, but as a physiologic fact. It becomes an idea when the brain evolves enough to produce ideas. Then it can produce, ‘There is no air in here.’

..A slightly stifling atmosphere in the present can set off this great pain and with it an exaggerated response. ‘I have to leave this woman because she stifles me.'”

“p. 64 It doesn’t matter about the facts we know if we cannot stop drinking or if we cannot maintain a relationship with someone else.”

“p. 68 My task is to examine why individuals adopt belief systems, whatever they are, and how certain feelings provoke specific kinds of belief systems..to demonstrate how feeling feelings can alter those beliefs without once addressing the beliefs at all. Deprogramming is not necessary. Probing need is. Resolving feelings seem to render belief systems inoperative.”

“p. 71 ..we are a nation and a world of seekers, a people who seek refuge in all manner of beliefs.”

“p. 75-76 Later in life, equipped with the cortical ability to substitute ideation for feeling, the traumatized baby can call upon a god to save him from his inner pain, even when he doesn’t know where the pain originated, or even that there is pain. He just calls upon a god to watch over him, to see that he gets justice, who won’t let him down, and above all, who will help him make it into life..”

“p. 106 Neurosis is the only malady on the face of this earth that feels good..numbs the feeling. Numb feels good – not ‘good’ in the absolute sense, just not ‘bad.’

So we settle..we get numbed out and feel no pain and in return, life is blah blah. The person then feels she is not getting anything out of life and seeks out salvation or a guru in one form or another.”


“..we are a nation and a world of seekers, a people who seek refuge in all manner of beliefs.” The patient’s story on pages 89-105 tells of horrific damages inflicted by believers and the subsequent consequences. Variations of his story with its adverse childhood experiences could be told by tens of millions of people in the U.S. alone!

Why isn’t the internet flooded with stories of people facing their realities and doing something to effectively address the real causes of what’s wrong in their lives? Said another way, why is the internet instead flooded with stories of people NOT facing their realities, and doing things to prolong their conditions and avoid getting well?

The many reasons why people do things that don’t truly get them well are covered in Beyond Belief and Dr. Janov’s other publications. One obstacle for people who want enduring therapeutic help is the intentional misrepresentation of Primal Therapy.

Every day I look at the results of an automated search that uses “primal therapy” as the search term. Along with the scams and irrelevancies are the “scream” results.

This misrepresentation is addressed in places such as here:

“Primal Therapy is not Primal ‘Scream’ Therapy. Primal Therapy is not just making people scream; it was never ‘screaming’ therapy. The Primal Scream was the name of the 1st book by Dr. Janov about Primal Therapy.”

People who perpetuate the “scream” meme are only a few seconds away from search results that would inform them and their readers of accurate representations of Primal Therapy. What purpose does it serve to misdirect their readers away from doing something to effectively address the real causes of what’s wrong in their lives?

Beyond Belief: The impact of merciless beatings on beliefs

Continuing with Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief:

“p. 17 When someone insults us, we immediately create reasons and rationales for it. We cover the pain. Now imagine a whole early childhood of insults and assaults and how that leaves a legacy that must be dealt with.

..The mind of ideas and philosophies doesn’t know it is being used; doesn’t know it serves as a barricade against the danger of feeling..It is why no one can convince the person out of her ideas. They serve a key purpose and should not be tampered with..We are tampering with a survival function.”

“p. 19 It seems like a miracle that something as intangible and invisible as an idea has the power to transform our biologic system. It makes us see what doesn’t exist and sometimes not see what does. What greater power exists than that? To be fooled is not only to convince someone to believe the false, but also to convince others to not believe the truth.

The unloved child who cannot bear the terrible feelings of hopelessness shuts down his own feeling centers and grows insensitive, not only to his pain, but to that of others..So he commits the same error on his child that was visited upon him, and he does so because of the way he was unloved early on. He cannot see his own hopelessness or that of his child.”

“p. 56 ..all defensive beliefs must have a kernel of hope inside of them..it is the embedded hopelessness that gives rise to its opposite – hope – and its accompanying biochemistry of inhibition or gating. To be even more precise, it is the advent of pain surrounding hopelessness that produces the belief entwined with hope..

All defensive belief serves the same function – repression, absorbing the energy of pain.”

“p. 57 An unloved child is a potential future believer.”

“p. 58 ..no one has the answer to life’s questions but you. How you should lead your life depends on you, not outside counsel.

..we do not direct patients, nor dispense wisdom upon them. We have only to put them in touch with themselves; the rest is up to them.

Everything the patient has to learn already resides inside. The patient can make herself conscious. No one else can.”


“p. 29 The personal experience stories throughout the book are written by my patients and, with the exception of a few grammatical corrections, they are presented here exactly as they were given to me.”

All of the Primal Therapy patients’ stories thus far started with horrendous childhoods that resulted in correspondingly strong beliefs.

I came across a public figure example today in 10 Defining Moments In The Childhood Of Martin Luther King Jr. The author included two items germane to an understanding of how beliefs may develop from adverse childhood experiences:

  • 8. King Sr. “..would beat Martin and his brother, Alfred, senseless for any infraction, usually with a belt.”
  • 6. “By the time King was 13, he’d tried to kill himself twice.”

Every reference I found tied King Jr.’s suicide attempts to his grandmother’s death, and not to King Sr.’s beatings or other preteen experiences.

Granted that it’s only the patient who can put together what happened in their lives so that it’s therapeutic. Beyond Belief and Dr. Janov’s other publications outline the framework.

Beyond Belief: Why do we accept being propagandized?

Continuing to read Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief:

“p.13 Beliefs are medicine for the hopeless. They attenuate despair, vitiate loneliness, and dissipate helplessness.”

“p. 14 We need hope more than we need truth..Beliefs divert us from past traumas and current pains because inside the belief lies hope.”

“p.15 Hope is..’the meaning of life.’ It shimmers and sparkles and blinds us from seeing the bars of our prisons of belief.

..we are all, in one way or another, victims of early unfulfilled need. Never think that intelligence prohibits this kind of behavior.

We search for hope here and there based on early hopelessness of which we are unaware. Nothing in one’s current life points to the problem, and nothing even in one’s childhood clarifies it.

..one’s expectations may exceed reality when feelings are thrust into the arena of ideas..one no longer sees reality, but rather a projection of need.”


“We need hope more than we need truth.” Is this part of why we accept headlines as facts, and don’t pay attention to the stories’ subsequent corrections? Why we accept as facts news articles that don’t link to the cited sources?

I had dinner earlier this week with an intelligent woman. She mentioned that she constantly listened to National Public Radio. I asked her what value she got from it, and she replied that it kept her current with events.

I asked what other news sources she sought out. She said that she didn’t usually have the time, and that NPR was a reliable source.

I didn’t further challenge her beliefs. It’s up to each individual to realize that their beliefs are symptoms of what’s ruining their one precious life.

Last weekend I engaged in essentially the same conversation over lunch with another intelligent woman who relied on conservative news sources. She also became defensive, and ended that part of our conversation as a matter of “agreeing to disagree.”

Why does intelligence seem to have little to do with accepting being propagandized?