Sunday, March 31, 2013
First Respondent- Chronic Disease at Its Source
This week's reading put a lot of emphasis on the importance of treating the primary cause of the disease and not just casual links. For instance, smoking does not cause heart disease but it is highly possible that it body more susceptible to certain pathogens that increase the likelihood of heart disease. All in all it seemed very focused to me. I wonder how much scientists know about early human and early hominid lifestyles. Clearly smoking is bad for you because it is linked to countless diseases and is addictive.
The different theories mentioned were really interesting. For instance, some people believe that the allele e4 (which is linked to Alzheimer's multiple sclerosis, and atherosclerosis)is poorly constructed or hasn't shown to be deadly until recently. These are both wrong because about 50% of people who survived to reproductive age lived to be older than 65, so the fact these conditions would have shown in our ancestors. Also, the allele has been displaced over the last 200,000 years in humans by e2 and e3, suggesting that e4 is not defective.
I took the chapter in the book to mean that current research is often looking in the wrong direction. We should be looking at how to prevent certain pathogens from entering the body or treating the genetic part of genetic diseases instead of worrying about other exacerbating factors. While I agree that it is important to find ways to prevent the root causes of chronic conditions, it is also important to understand the other factors so that we can learn as much about the condition as possible.