Is there an epic battle occurring within our bodies right now? The classic battle royale between good and bad? I suppose in the body’s case the fight between good and bad genes. There is a new field in medical research in which researchers are on the quest to find good gene mutations that fight against the disease causing mutations. One individual, Doug Whitney, sparked the interest of a few doctors because he has fought his genetic odds to be health at 65 years old. Whitney has a gene mutation, presenilin, that causes early onset Alzheimer’s disease in those who has inherited it. Whitney’s mother and 9 out of his 13 siblings were killed by this mutation and so Whitney’s fate seemed to be sealed. However when Whitney reached his 40s and 50s having no symptoms he assumed he did not have the gene. At 62 years old, Whitney, decided he would get a gene test. He did have the gene. This was an anomaly, He was doomed to have early onset Alzheimer’s Disease but had absolutely no symptoms. Although Whitney still have changes of getting Alzhiemers but the effects of his bad gene have been greatly delayed by another gene in Whitney’s DNA. Whitney joined a study at Washington University in St. Louis led by Doctor Randall Bateman which recruited people with the early onset Alzheimer’s disease gene. This attracted the attention of Doctor Eric E. Schadt and Doctor Stephen H. Friend. Doctor Schadt said that searching for good genes that protect against bad gene mutations is completely turning genetic research on its head. Researchers have found gene mutations that partially protect diseases like osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. These good gene mutation’s partial protect have help to develop drugs to help fight certain diseases. Finding good gene mutations are substantially more difficult to find than bad genes, but the search has gotten a little easier with fast and inexpensive methods of sequencing DNA. Doctor Schadt and Doctor Friend decided to start the Resilience Project and search for good gene mutations that counteract bad gene mutations to help develop new break though treatments and drugs. They have contacted the researchers at Washington University, the research that Whitney is currently participating in.
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