Integrative Health Blog

Re-empowering Parents Through Predictive Genomics

Posted by on Tue, Nov 15, 2011

by Chas Gant MD, PhD

The best-seller and Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Nurture Assumption, Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do, by Judith Rich Harris makes a compelling case, based on sound research on identical twins and other data, that within reasonable attempts to provide our kids with a non-abusive environment, typical parenting does not matter much in how our children turn out!  I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but since the dawn of the scientific age, nutty assumptions and superstitions such as the earth being the center of the universe, have been challenged and abandoned.  The belief that parenting matters in how kids turn out is just another sacred cow destined for the waste bins of history. 

But take heart, because now you may assertively point out to those obnoxiously, proud parents who raised exceptionally talented and gifted children, that they are full of braggadocio hot air.  And if despite your best efforts, you’ve raised a kid who became a dropout, an addict or an academic flunky, you now have good cause to stop feeling guilty.

Identical twins, separated at birth and brought up in utterly different circumstances, turn out pretty much the same.  In fact their quirky traits, talents and behaviors have astonishing similarities, down to the ice cream they like with the same nut or chocolate sprinkles on top.  So, in other words, using our “fur-children” (dogs) as an analogy, within reasonable limits of a nurturing, non-abusive environment, raise them however you want; the Mastiffs will generally turn out to look and act like Mastiffs, and the Chihuahuas will generally turn out to look and act like Chihuahuas.  The only variable that seems to matter much is genetics - case closed, end of story, next.

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Tags: autism, nature v. nurture, addiction, genetics

The Solution to the Health Care Crisis- Functional Medicine, Genomics and a New Standard of Care

Posted by on Wed, Sep 28, 2011

Chas Gant MD PhD

I recently read that about 50% of the pharmaceutical industry’s profits are channeled into marketing and advertising, which explains the bombardment of utterly offensive and misleading media drug ads I am forced to experience when I fail to click the mute button fast enough. But I confess to having cashed in on some of Big Pharma’s, physician-focused marketing efforts, by accepting coffee mugs and other trinkets from drug sales people, and even getting paid to have a free dinner now and then and listen to the latest pharmaceutical pitches.  I have even been offered a few six figure research “bribes” in my 35 year career, to “test” the latest drugs on my patients and make sure the outcome data supports the efficacy of the drug.  Through the years these research grants were hard to reject when you are struggling to give your kids the best, but I decided my soul would have been forsaken forever if I went down that route, so I have always politely declined such lucrative offers.

I don’t mean to suggest that drugs are not useful. I prescribe them for most of my patients. Drug treatments, like all therapies, should be based on 3 main criteria – safety, efficacy and expense (in that order) – and sometimes drug therapies rise to top of the decision tree.  However, drugs are toxins, and since toxicity from plastics, heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives, antibiotic-laced food and many other modern era poisons are common causes of chronic medical and psychiatric problems, one might wonder why the prescribing of potentially toxic pharmaceuticals, which could worsen ones total toxic load, is not done with far more discretion. 

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Tags: functional medicine, integrative medicine, genetics

The Nurture Assumption and Genomics

Posted by on Wed, Sep 07, 2011

by Chas Gant MD, PhD

Having certain genes which guarantee me lifetime struggles with insomnia and restlessness, I am a voracious, nocturnal bibliophile.  And as I travel frequently, books will somehow come my way which I use to bore me into a good snooze. While visiting relatives recently, I happened upon a Pulitzer Prize finalist copy of The Nuture Assumption, why children turn out the way they do, by Judith Rich Harris.  Sometimes well-written, provocative books have the opposite effect and keep me awake into the wee hours. Such was the case here. The Nuture Assumption  makes a compelling case, based on sound research on identical twins and other data, that within reasonable efforts to provide our kids with a nurturing, non-abusive, “normal” environment, parenting does not matter much in how our children turn out!

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Tags: nature v. nurture, functional medicine, genetics