Opioid Receptor Genetic Variants

Your body makes it’s own, natural opioids as a way to regulate pain, reward, and addictive behaviors. One example is the endorphin rush after a hard workout — a runner’s high.  This is also how the body shuts down too much pain. Genetic variants,…

Resilience: Genetic Variants Involved in Surviving Childhood Trauma

Exposure to childhood trauma, such as exposure to abuse, violence, or repeated stress, can have a long-lasting effect. Adults who were exposed to childhood trauma have higher rates of depression, PTSD, suicide, and anxiety disorders. The question that researchers have attempted to answer is: Why…

The cheese effect and your genes.

Subtitled: Let’s all try not to have a heart attack this Christmas! Let me set the scene: You’re gathered ’round on Christmas Eve for a get together with all of your family, having traveled from far and wide. Your uncle brings his “special family recipe” of summer…

Do you wake up at 4am?

I used to wake up often between 3:30 and 4:00 in the morning. It was so irritating not to be able to fall back to sleep –or even worse, to fall back to sleep just a half hour before I needed to wake up. …

BDNF: Genetic variants for introversion, stress resilience, and more…

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that works in the central and peripheral nervous system to promote nerve function and growth. It works in the neurons of the brain both in forming neurons and in long-term memory formation. BDNF also is involved in neurotransmitter…

Circadian Rhythm Genes: Mood Disorders

Roosters crowing at the first crack of daylight. Morning glories unfurling their blooms as the sun rises in the sky. Lightning bugs flickering just as dusk falls. Most people intuitively understand that plants respond to sunlight, using photosynthesis to produce energy and store sugar…

Serotonin: How your genes affect this neurotransmitter

Serotonin… a word that brings to mind commercials showing happy brain neurons bouncing serotonin between them. There is a lot more to this molecule than most of us realize! What does serotonin do? About 90% of serotonin is made in the gut and regulates…

Is the nootropic drug modafinil likely to work for you?

Modafinil is being used as a nootropic drug that increases alertness and gives a sense of well being — to some users. Like most drugs, individual results seem to vary.  One reason for the variation is a common genetic variation in the COMT gene….

Choline – An Essential Nutrient

I just finished listening to an interesting podcast featuring Dr. Zeisel, a researcher at the NC Nutrition Research Institute.  The interview discussed the body’s need for choline and the impact of some genetic variants on our ability to produce it in the body.  So…

Genetics of Grinding Your Teeth

It never fails to amaze me how many of our quirks and traits have a genetic basis.  A study that came out last week caught my eye. Bruxism, teeth grinding, is linked to a genetic variant. The study, Genetic polymorphisms in the serotoninergic system are…