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Genetics or Lifestyle?

Both genetics and lifestyle help to determine how long you will live and what diseases you will suffer. Following the rules for healthful living reduces your risk for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and many other life-shortening conditions. The same lifestyle factors that help to prevent one of these diseases also prevent many others. For example, habits that increase risk for heart attacks also increase risk for diabetes, cancers and dementia. See my second article in the
March 24, 2013 issue

Genetics Are Important Also

This week a study from the University of Exeter Medical School in England shows that people who have a mother who lived past age 91 or a father who lived past 87, are 24 percent less likely to get cancer than people whose parents died earlier (Journals of Gerontology, Series A, May 28, 2013). The death rate dropped by up to 19 per cent for each decade that at least one of the parents lived past age 65. A study from the University of Michigan shows that when mothers lived beyond 85, their children had a 40 per cent lower death rate than average.

Having Parents Who Live Longer than 65 Years Reduces Cancer Risk

The protective effects are passed on from parents who live beyond 65. This study agrees with many others that show that children of parents who have normal blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol are likely to live longer lives and be at reduced risk for heart attacks and cancers.

In an earlier study, children of one parent who lived to at least age 97 had:

• 78 percent lower risk for heart attacks,

• 83 percent lower likelihood of stroke, and

• 86 percent lower risk of developing diabetes mellitus.

(Journal of American Geriatrics Society, Nov. 21, 2008)


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Fish Oil Pills Do Not Reduce Heart Attack Risk

Three new studies have been added to the many previous studies showing that fish oil pills do not prevent disease or prolong life. People who eat fish twice a week suffer fewer heart attacks than those who eat less. However, no additional benefit has been shown for eating fish more than twice a week.

A study of more than 12,500 people who had atherosclerosis or multiple heart attack risk factors, found no benefit from five years of taking one gram of fish oil per day. There was no reduction in death rates or admissions to the hospital for heart attacks (The New England Journal of Medicine, May 9, 2013).

Daily omega-3 fatty acid pills did not reduce risk for heart attacks or strokes in 12,611 patients with high blood sugar levels (Annals of Internal Medicine, October 4, 2012). The authors made this study dependable because they excluded patients who were at high risk for dying in the near future: those with HBA1C greater than 9, heart bypass surgery in the past four years, heart failure or cancer.

No Benefit in Controlling Metabolic Syndrome

Taking 1.7 g per day of fish oil omega-3 fatty acid pills for four weeks did not improve arterial health, inflammation, or metabolic syndrome in overweight young adults (Nutrition Journal, April 8, 2013;12(1):40). Thirty-five per cent of Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome, a pre-diabetic condition that increases risk for heart attacks, strokes, and dementia. No benefits were noted in blood pressure, blood tests for inflammation (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor, and CRP), blood cholesterol, triglycerides, sugar or C-reactive protein.

This week's medical history:
John Brinkley, Goat Testicle Entrepreneur

For a complete list of my medical history biographies go to Histories and Mysteries


Recipe of the Week:

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book
- it's FREE

June 2nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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