Monday, December 7, 2009
Perceptions Dictate Function?
Well what do I mean by that? Well, Upper Cervical Care is about making sure the brain and body can fully communicate. That communication is crucial to our proper perception of the environment within us and around us so that we make the appropriate changes within our body. The article below shows how deep this process goes and how fundamentally important the idea is to our life and health.
Not Controlled By Our Genes?
by Dr. Bruce Lipton
My career as a biomedical research scientist began in 1967 when I started cloning stem cells, years before conventional science was aware of their importance in human health. While a tenured member of the University of Wisconsin’s Medical School faculty, I was involved with teaching each new crop of medical students the basic science of how cells work. In my lectures in cell biology, histology and embryology, I faithfully passed on the knowledge of the Central Dogma, a foundational assumption underlying modern medicine. First defined by Francis Crick, co-discoverer with James Watson of the DNA genetic code, the ‘dogma,’ describes the flow of information that ‘controls’ biology. Accordingly, information flows in a unidirectional path, starting from the source-DNA, it is translated into an intermediate molecular form-RNA and finally the code is used to make Protein. The DNA represents the genes and the proteins provide for the physical body and its functions (behavior). The ‘dogma’ of science is that the character of our life is defined by our heredity. Genes rule!
Since we did not choose the genes we came with and since we cannot exchange them, we are more or less ‘victims’ of heredity. Our limitations are presumably correlated with less than ‘satisfactory’ genes and their consequent effects upon the body’s physical and behavioral mechanisms. The Central Dogma shapes the world’s current perception of health and healing. If we are ‘sick,’ it is because our mechanism is inherently defective or weak. Medicine’s solution is to provide…medicines, physical drugs that interfere with the molecular mechanisms of the body, in an effort ‘adjust’ the malfunctioning machinery of physiology and behavior.
While I was teaching the Dogma in class, my cloned human cells began to reveal a completely different story. Rather than genes, the experiments revealed that it was the environment that was ‘controlling’ the cells. By changing the environmental conditions within the culture dish, the same cells could be transformed to reveal radically different expressions. Every cell contains a complete set of genes, enough information to make a whole human, so every cell is capable of expressing a full range of developmental potentials. However, the ultimate character expressed by a cell is NOT preprogrammed in the genes. The fate of a cell is determined by its response to the environment it finds itself in. The experiments revealed that cells dynamically adapt their structure (genes) and behavior to conform to their awareness or perception of the environment. The expression of life represents an adaptation to our perceptions, it is not defined by our genes. What did the cells teach me: Change your perception…change your life.
By the late 70’s, my curiosity led me on a trail to identify the mechanism by which environmental perception ‘controlled’ gene expression. Embarking on this quest ultimately alienated me from my scientific peers. Why? Because I was challenging the Central Dogma whose fundamental premise is that life is ‘controlled’ by the genes. Here is an interesting realization, the term ‘dogma’ is not even a scientific word, it is specifically a religious concept where you accept that something is true based upon faith. Think of it…the entire foundation of biomedicine is built upon a religious belief! And by my questioning the Dogma of gene-control, I was labeled a heretic and actually shunned by my colleagues.
Religious belief aside, there is a fundamental question that must be asked, “Do genes really control biology?” The answer to that question is unambiguously, NO. This fact was scientifically established by the late 1980’s, when a new awareness arose in molecular biology. That awareness provided for one of today’s most active areas of scientific research, the field of epigenetics. Epigenetics is a study of the molecular mechanisms by which environment controls gene activity.
Though this research represents a fundamental upheaval of our beliefs about ‘how’ life works, this new awareness has hardly dented conventional knowledge. The simple reason is that the ‘dogma’ concerning the role of genes represents a core belief, or basal paradigm, that shapes our civilization. The scientifically accepted view of life is that it represents the result of random evolution of genetic mechanisms competing for survival in an eternal struggle for existence. Kind of a gloomy perspective.
But, what if we can actually change the unfoldment of our lives by changing our perceptions (beliefs)? It would lead to a different way of thinking about our lives and our place in the environment. By definition, it would change a basal paradigmatic belief and that would result in a restructuring or upheaval of civilization. For example, consider the consequences of world changes that were brought about by civilization’s last paradigm upheaval. That occurred around 1925, when physics left behind the dated concepts of a Newtonian material-based universe and recognized the energy-based reality revealed in Quantum Physics. This change of perception shook the world on its axis, literally, through the creation of the atomic bomb. It wasn’t all bad, for with the new science, we went from typewriters to computers, from crank phones to cell phones and, medically speaking, from stethoscopes to CAT scans. All from a change in ‘belief.’
Well, brace yourselves, for we are in for a wild ride. Frontier research in cell biology has finally acknowledged the mechanisms by which perception controls behavior, selects genes and can even lead to a rewriting of the genome. Rather than being the victims of our genes, we have been the victims of our perceptions! The impact of this new awareness of living systems work will alter our experience of life as much as the recognition of quantum mechanics altered and advanced the world of technology. We are on the verge of a most radical, and most wonderful upheaval of human civilization.