Thursday, 21 August 2008

Here's to my therapist II - Why "mental illness" is neither genetically caused nor genetically predisposed

I've got some really, really bad news for psychiatrists, parents, and "patients" who believe they can blame (their) genes for (their) "mental illness", in one way or the other. Actually, it's really bad news for everybody, who believes, they can blame anything on (their) genes.

I found the video below yesterday on Gianna's blog, when I had a look at the archives. It's the first of seven parts of a talk by cell-biologist Bruce Lipton.



What Bruce Lipton is explaining in the video-series actually is a scientific, biological proof for the trauma-model to be true, and the bio-medical, genetic model to be, well yeah, rubbish.

While today's genetics take a starting point in a model, that says genes produce proteins, that then activate behaviour, Bruce Lipton had wondered how it, under these circumstances, could be possible for living organisms to continuously show behaviour, even after their genes were removed.

He found out, that modern genetics had thrown away the decisive part of the whole, behaviour-creating process: genes do not produce proteins, but transmitters, signals do activate genes as a blueprint for new proteins. While these signals are sent by an effector, that in its turn is activated by a receptor, who, in the first place, had been activated by another, initial signal. And where did this initial signal come from? Well - and now it's definitely time for everyone, who doesn't want to know about the trauma-model to stop reading, and pretend nothing ever happened! The three monkeys, you know - it comes from the living organism's environment.

All behaviour, all life, that finds expression in behaviour, is always, and no matter if we talk a single cell, or a highly complicated organism such as man, a reaction to this life's environment.

What then about findings, that show for instance "schizophrenics" to, sometimes, deviate genetically from "normal" people? The thing is, when a secondary signal doesn't find a protein inside the organism, that matches the situation, i.e. that would create behaviour appropriate in the given situation (or: behaviour, that would be an appropriate and functioning response to the initial, primary signal), and if now the situation is so complicated (as for example a double bind is), that the signal doesn't find an appropriate blueprint in the genes, either, that could provide the basis for the production of an appropriate protein, the blueprint, the genes, can be varied. Mutations are possible. But in contrast to today's common belief, mutations aren't random, they are adaptive. And they're not inborn, other than when they're a response to signals from the environment, the living organism found itself in before birth.

Thus the environment shapes the genes of the in it living organism. It is not the genes, that, because of some random mutation, produce, seen in relation to the environment, irrational, inappropriate, dysfunctional behaviour. And, of course, the varied blueprint, the mutated gene, can be varied "back to normal" whenever the environment changes and renders the variation superfluous.

Sorry, Mom and Dad, but we're back at "the schizophrenogenic mother" & Co., yes. Actually, we're at a point, where no kind of "inappropriate", "sick", dysfunctional behaviour can be blamed on anyone's genes, that is on anyone's individually inborn charcteristics, anymore. On a biological level, life is proteins, not genes. Genes are nothing but a plan. The house is built by signals and of proteins, and which house is built depends on the ground, the environment. Not on predetermined plans. Every organism carries the plans for all imaginable houses inside itself, the possibility to change plans included. Thus, everything is possible. Which in the end becomes manifested is a question of what signals the environment sends - and of how the individual perceives its environment. Which is dependent on the environment that to start with has formed the individual's perception of its environment.

Brought to the level of human behaviour, it is perception (of our environment) that controls behaviour, not biology. While the way, we perceive our environment ("belief" in Bruce Lipton's words), in itself is acquired, is a reaction to environmental signals. Here treatment options like therapy, meditation, etc. enter the picture. A belief can be changed. Everything becomes possible. Provided that the individual becomes aware of its beliefs.

Bruce Lipton's findings correspond perfectly with what many of us, who haven't bought into the biological model - and both those who've had the experience of extreme states of mind themselves, and professionals as Laing and Mosher - have experienced: change the environment (for example by changing diet and exercise habits, or by moving faaar away from home*...), and you'll change the behaviour. And they correspond just as perfectly with the findings of neuroscience in the field of neuroplasticity.

Nevertheless, this also has a political dimension (discrimination, eugenics), and I fear, no matter how hard the scientific evidence, everything will be done to suppress findings like Bruce Lipton's. Bruce Lipton has written a book about his findings, The Biology of Belief, which I suppose to be a somewhat more rewarding and interesting read than, just as an example, Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight, or Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind (find the hurrays yourself, it's not an impossible task). The Biology of Belief was published in 2005, the videos at YouTube were posted in November 2007, and this is the first time, I've ever heard of it (which certainly isn't due to me not following what's going on).

Thank you, Gianna, for posting this!!!

BTW: NAMI recently reacted to the new findings about mutated chromosomes in relation to so-called "schizophrenia", I wrote about here and here. NAMI's report is, astonishingly though rightly, not half as enthusiastic as Thomas Werge's statements in the Danish media.

To all the Jill Bolte Taylors out there: you're definitely looking in the wrong place, folks. To all you therapists out there, advocating the biological, genetical version of the Stress-Vulnerability-Model: stop disempowering and patronizing people with fairy stories about genes, that are nothing but junk-science! And to everyone, who's out there, leaning comfortably back on disability, and in front of your TV, all day long, blaming your genes for your allegedly unchangeable and uncontrollable suffering (I know, now I'm controversial again): Belief controls behaviour, not biology. Take responsibility! If not for yourself, so at least for others. By stopping to diffuse junk-science's untruths about genes and biology, and by stopping to try to silence biopsychiatry's (junk-science's) critics.
_______________

* Now, no one should think, it's enough just to pull up stakes and move to Timbuktu. That's something I've tried numerous times, without any lasting success. The problem remains the same. Only to pull up outside-stakes is never enough. It's also always the inner ones, the "belief", that has to be pulled up. - Although, it helps to move to Timbuktu. Unless that's where your "loved ones" actually do live...

10 comments:

Gianna said...

this is beautifully done Marian...

Marian said...

Thanks Gianna! I just did the Danish version, and, in the wake of it, added a bit to this one.

Which really maddens me is that things like these are never heard of in the media, while they blow up stuff like "We found the cause (not)! Schizophrenics have (not) defective chromosomes!" totally out of proportion. And the public believes that junk.

Martin Walker said...

Fascinating and thought provoking. Thank you.

I've come to conclude that environment plays a crucial role in shaping who we are, and that we can change ourselves by selecting our evironment and stimuli.

But the way we respond to environment is affected by our genetics -- put two people in the same situation or two infants in the same home and you'll get two distinct responses.

You and your readers might be interested in Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl's study on Improving Fluid Intelligence by Training Working Memory (PNAS April 2008) which recorded increases in mental agility (fluid intelligence) of more than 40% after 19 days of focused brain training. A dramatic example of our ability to change.

I was so impressed that I contacted the research team and developed a software program using the same method.
Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro

martin
mind evolve, llc

Marian said...

"But the way we respond to environment is affected by our genetics -- put two people in the same situation or two infants in the same home and you'll get two distinct responses."

This is part of Bruce Lipton's findings, that our environment already influences the way we perceive it even before we are born. So, an individual may very well be born with what our society would call "defective" genes. Still, possible mutations are a result of the environment, we found ourselves in right from the very beginning (i.e. when we were just one single cell). Something, I'll do another piece about some day soon.

The problem with the situation you refer to in your comment is that you can't create the exact same environment for two people, no matter how hard you try. Even if you take identical twins, and even if their parents are 100% dedicated to raise them completely in the same manner, there will always be factors, that provide differences to their respective environment, and thus makes them become different personalities - although they, under the above mentioned circumstances, may not differ just as much as siblings of different age/gender, whose parents don't care/aren't aware of how they treat them (differently).

Thanks for the links! Looks very interesting, and reminds me immediately of the studies that have shown meditation to have an influence on brain waves and tissue. I'll check them out as soon as possible.

Jane said...

"On a biological level, life is proteins, not genes. Genes are nothing but a plan. The house is built by signals and of proteins, and which house is built depends on the ground, the environment. Not on predetermined plans. Every organism carries the plans for all imaginable houses inside itself, the possibility to change plans included. Thus, everything is possible. Which in the end becomes manifested is a question of what signals the environment sends - and of how the individual perceives its environment. Which is dependent on the environment that to start with has formed the individual's perception of its environment.

Brought to the level of human behaviour, it is perception (of our environment) that controls behaviour, not biology"


Excellent. I only watched the first video but it was captivating. He is quite a speaker. I did not know about the shortfall of genes in the genome project. Great vid, great information and great post. I understand the therapist comment better.

Marian said...

I love this guy! These vids really made my day, when I saw them. Have to get hold of the book.

But, hey, I thought, you were working on your book. Not hanging out in the blogosphere. Well well, thanks for hanging out here and commenting! :)

Jane said...

You are welcome, you have been so kind and spent time on my site, and I have neglected thee.

You are one of the best blog people find I've run into out here. Your writing is fantastic and your intellect rampant.

I just got totally ravaged by a den of probiopsych zombies online but I am fine. My armor hath a few holes in it and I have my bucket of water out to douse fires.

Seems my work has stirred the bipolar hemocytes and they had nothing but lies, slander, trolling and basically accused me of a slew of fabricated stuff some of it semi serious.

Whew

Just had to tell someone and I thought of you. I slightly lost my cool. :( but not catastrophically.

It was good practice. It's going to get worse when I am done.

Sorry totally OT

Marian said...

I cringed a bit, when I hit "publish comment" for the one above. Not because I think it's OT at all. What you've faced at YouTube lately somehow is the same as what I see, Bruce Lipton's (and so many others') work faces. Difference: some people (no names here) are just too brain disabled to see, that hitting out wildly won't get them anywhere in terms of making a point, and that they'd better use the keep-silent-tactics, the professionals are so darn good at, when they're out of factual arguments.

That you get these reactions to your work, only shows how right on you are. Take it as a compliment. Even if it definitely is a challenge having to put up with so much bs. You're brave, and you haven't lost your cool more than what is absolutely legitimate (unless we talk about Buddha himself ;) ).

What I cringed a bit at, was the 2nd paragraph of your comment. But, well, that's a subject for a post of its own, about birthdays, or coming home with an A in a maths test, and about a self-esteem that approaches zero... Anyhow, I love when things get discussed in an intelligent way, and I find that at your blog and vlog. So, vice versa, in regard to the 2nd paragraph. Can't wait to read your book!

Gianna said...

Hi ladies,
I'm up in the middle of the night tired...just wanted to say...you hang in there Jane!

I've had shit slung at me many times...I'm finding a thicker skin and I'm finding letting things go is often best...even completely ignoring shit is sometimes good...

I know that is not everyone's style...and that's okay too...I just need to learn how to keep my peace of mind...

can't wait to read your book either, Jane...

and Marian...this is one of my favorite pieces by you...I confess I caught on that Lipton was cool, but when I posted the videos I was tired and didn't even listen to all of them...you gave me an education of what I had originally posted!! oh my!

love to both of you.

Marian said...

Hi Gianna,

no doubt whatsoever, that you're totally right.

Nevertheless, sometimes... Just yesterday I yielded to the temptation and told someone, who absolutely had to rubbish Peter Gabriel (how trivial can it get?!), to eff off and listen to something else if they didn't get his music. Completely trivial. But my PG-fan-ego said: 'No one rubbishes Peter Gabriel like that unpunished!' and won :( And I thought, I'd learned something from the Larry-experience... Not yet enough, it seems.

Watching all the videos is something of a marathon. Nothing to say to that you didn't make it through the whole series, being tired beforehand. I'm so glad, and grateful to you, that you posted them!

But what are you doing up in the middle of the night, around here?? Now you go and get yourself a good night's sleep!

Love to you, too.