Prions: When proteins go awry

What is non-living, doesn’t have DNA but yet can infect, replicate, and eventually cause death?  Sounds like either a really bad riddle or an episode of the Walking Dead…  The answer is a type of protein called a prion. Prions are a bit hard…

BChE – Pesticides, Parkinson’s, and Potatoes

The BCHE gene codes for the butyrylcholinesterase enzyme. The BChE enzyme is found in the plasma of the blood. It is a cholinesterase which breaks apart choline esters, such as acetylcholine. Acetylcholinesterase is a similar enzyme that is responsible for breaking down the neurotransmitter,…

Melatonin: Key to Health and Longevity

It seems like everything that I’ve written about lately has a common thread: melatonin. When I started weaving together all those melatonin threads, a big picture was revealed. You could say it is a… tapestry of health. Melatonin may actually be the key to…

Genetic Mutations that Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a scary possibility that faces many of us today — whether for ourselves or for aging parents and grandparents. Currently, 10% of people age 65 or older have Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  It is a disease for which prevention needs to start…

Are you exhausted by shift work? It could be genetic.

Genetics plays a role in how much shift work impacts you.  While some people may get along well with shift work, others may experience more difficulties with it. A new study found one genetic variant that may shed some light on the topic (pun intended :-).

Genes Involved in Autophagy:

Autophagy is a general term for cellular pathways that move something from the cytoplasm of the cell into the lysosome for degradation. The term comes from the Greek ‘auto’ (self) and ‘-phagy’ (to eat).  So when you see articles touting ‘autophagy diets’ as the…

Lithium: A mineral that affects mood, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and telomeres

Researchers found that Texas counties with higher levels of lithium in their groundwater had less of an increase in Alzheimer’s rates compared with counties that had lower levels of lithium. This isn’t a total surprise since previous studies had linked lithium to a decreased risk of dementia, but it is a great confirmation at a large scale population level. 

Alzheimer’s and Light at Night: Taking action to prevent this disease

Light at night and the link to Alzheimer’s disease. Animal studies show that disrupting circadian rhythm with light at night causes an increase in amyloid plaque accumulation.

Building Up Iron: Check your genes to see how iron affects your health

Hemochromatosis is a fairly common genetic disease that causes iron to build up in the body. Knowing that you carry the genetic variants for hemochromatosis can literally add years to your life since you can prevent the buildup of iron through giving blood. This…

SOD1: Genetic Variants in Our Antioxidant Defense System

Superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) is the gene that codes for the copper-zinc superoxide dismutase enzymes which help protect against oxidative stress and detoxify reactive oxygen species. Three types of superoxide dismutases are part of our built-in antioxidant system:  SOD1, found in the cytosol or…