суббота, 1 апреля 2017 г.
What's your DNA damage?
From Brussels sprouts to lectures on the birds and the bees - not everything your parents give you over the years is welcome.
Take your genes: inheriting your dad's wonky nose can be bad enough, but scientists are discovering increasing numbers of health problems that can also be down to your family.
"Our genes can make us more susceptible to a huge range of wellbeing issues," explains Dr Anand Saggar, senior consultant in clinical genetics at the St George's NHS Trust in London.
"Diseases such as the neurological disorder Huntington's and cystic fibrosis are well known for being genetically inherited, but there are other conditions where, although no single gene might cause a problem, a combination of them might make you more susceptible."
It's not always easy to discover if it's your genes or lifestyle affecting your health. But if you think you may have been handed down a health problem, read on to discover how to escape your inheritance horror...
Unhealthy inheritance: Infertility
While there are no single, specific genes for fertility or menopause, research* has found that if your gran and mum had their menopause before 52, you may too. "You may have problems conceiving later in life if your mum did," says Gillian Lockwood, medical director of the Midland Fertility Clinic. "But if female relatives had babies later, you're also likely to."
Beat your genes: Quitting smoking is a must if early menopause is in your family. For a Fertility Age Test contact the Midland Fertility Clinic (Midlandfertility.com, 01922 455 911).
Unhealthy inheritance: a sweet tooth
Ever wondered why some people are nonplussed by pudding, while others dive right into the pavlova? Scientists at King's College London have found that genes are more responsible for the foods we like than was originally thought. Experts once believed our penchant for naughty foods came from being exposed to them as children. But when researchers looked at identical twins who'd had different upbringings, they found they often still had the same food fads. And that's not all. Boffins have also discovered that many of us inherit a gene from our parents or grandparents that means we don't realise when we're full - so we're more likely to overeat and put on weight.
Beat your genes: Override your sweet-tooth gene bit by bit. "If you're trying to give up sugar in your tea, reduce the amount you take each day until you no longer have any," advises Sian Porter from the British Dietetic Association. "In the same way, gradually reduce salt intake or change full-fat milk to semi-skimmed then skimmed."
Unhealthy inheritance: bad behaviour
American researchers have discovered that some shy people have inherited a gene that determines how you react to new situations and people. The gene makes them more inhibited. Similarly, men who are prone to angry outbursts may not be entirely at fault either. Scientists at Florida State University recently discovered what's been termed the 'ASBO' gene - known by scientists as the MAOA gene. Men who'd inherited it were more likely to be aggressive, join a gang and use a weapon.
Beat your genes: If you're shy, Philip Hodson from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapists says: "Smile - it really boosts confidence." Or if you're prone to aggression, Philip advises: "Go for a run or a bike ride to purge stress."
Unhealthy inheritance: An unsatisfying sex life
It won't help the frustration of the estimated 12 per cent of women who've never had an orgasm**, but a study by St Thomas' Hospital in London discovered that a woman's ability to climax was more dependent on her genes than anything else. But it's not just us girls who suffer. The bad news for boys is that genes can also play a role in how sexy you feel in the first place. For example the inherited condition, Klinefelter's Syndrome, can result in a testosterone deficiency in men and low libido. Luckily for us ladies, we can't inherit the syndrome and in fact there's little evidence that genes are related to female sex drive at all. Hooray for that!
Beat your genes: Even if you have a naturally low libido there's lots you can do to give your sex life a kick-start. Read A Little Bit Kinky by Natasha Janina Valdez (£7.66, Broadway Books) for tips on putting the thrill back into the bedroom. The Sh! sex shop in Hoxton, north London, not only sells a huge range of sex toys, books, clothing and DVDs to help get in the mood for lovin', but it even runs evening classes for those who'd like to improve their technique. And for those of us still too embarrassed to be walking out with a bagful of naughty goodies, it also offers a discreet mail-order and internet delivery service (Sh-womenstore.com; 0845 868 9599).
Unhealthy inheritance: Bad hair and skin
Rather than gazing at your dad's bald head and worrying about the fate of your own luscious locks, study old photos of your grandparents. "Women only need to worry about inheriting hair loss if both their grandmothers had thinning hair," says Keith Hobbs, a fellow of the Institute of Trichologists. "And because of the different way genes are carried between the sexes, men are most likely to go bald if their mother's father was bald." Spotty skin can also be blamed on previous generations. "Some people inherit greasier skin than others, so if either of your parents suffered from acne there's more chance you will, too," says Dr Puneet Gupta, dermatologist at Harley Street's Private Clinic.
Beat your genes: "For hair loss, try using a lotion called minoxidil, sold in the UK under the trade name Regaine (£24.99 for 60ml from chemists)," says Keith. "It causes hair regrowth in about a third of people, prevents further hair loss in another third, while the final third find it doesn't have any effect." For problem skin, stock up on zinc and vitamin A, which reduce sebum production. Apricots and green veg are good sources. Or if that doesn't help, see your GP for advice.
Unhealthy inheritance: A roving eye
We may tut over Tiger Woods' recent behaviour, but studies suggest a quarter of women might actually carry an inherited gene that makes us more likely to stray! "By studying twins, it seems there's a strong link between a woman's genetic inheritance and the chances that she'll commit infidelity," confirms Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at St Thomas' Hospital in London. And as for how many people we get it on with, research by the University of Western Australia has found that could also be down to Mum and Dad. Studies have found that some of the secrets of attraction are hidden in our immune system genes - which we inherit from our parents - and the more varied the genes are, the more boyfriends a woman will have.
Beat your genes: Tempted to stray? Never keep secrets from your lover - as soon as you start lying you're on the slippery slope to cheating, say relationship counsellors. All relationships are different so seek help from a therapist - call Relate on 0300 100 1234.