Good Deeds Are Good For Your Genes

August 1, 2013 7:56 am 0 comments

Strange but true: Reimagessearchers at UCLA’s Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology are convinced that people who have high levels of happiness that comes from having a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life (eudaimonic well-being) have very healthful gene-expression profiles, with low levels of inflammatory gene expression and strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes. Yes, it’s a good thing. Conversely, the researchers found, people who have high levels of happiness that comes from consummatory self-gratification (hedonic well-being) showed just the opposite: an adverse expression profile involving high inflammation and low antiviral and antibody gene expression. Yikes! Maybe greed is not good. A UCLA news release reports that when researchers analyzed blood samples from 80 healthy adults who were assessed for both types of well-being, they found that those whose well-being was based on fulfillment of purpose showed favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells and those whose well-being was based on material wealth showed an adverse gene-expression profile. Curiously, says researcher Steven Cole, “people with high levels of hedonic well-being didn’t feel any worse than those with high levels of eudaimonic well-being. Both seemed to have the same high levels of positive emotion. What this study tells us is that doing good and feeling good have very different effects on the human genome, even though they generate similar levels of positive emotion. Apparently, the human genome is much more sensitive to different ways of achieving happiness than are conscious minds.” Read more from UCLA.

Leave a Reply


Recent Posts

  • Eating Well Pain Women's Health Heavy Drinker Or Alcoholic? That Is The Question

    Heavy Drinker Or Alcoholic? That Is The Question

    Is this good news? The New York Times reports that a new study of results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests that nine out of 10 people who drink too much are not addicts, and can change their behavior with sufficient prompting. It could be good news, except the Times also reports that excessive drinking, the kind practiced by non-alcoholics as well as alcoholics, results in 88,000 deaths a year, from causes that include alcohol poisoning and […]

    Read more →
  • Eating Well Fitness Pain Walnuts Slow Prostate Cancer

    Walnuts Slow Prostate Cancer

    Yes, it appears to be true: walnuts slow the growth of prostate cancer, at least in mice. A UC Davis news release reports that researchers at the school had found, in a previous study, that walnuts reduced prostate tumor size in mice, but the researchers weren’t sure which parts of the nuts generated these benefits. This time around, the researchers used a mixture of fats with virtually the same fatty acid content as walnuts as their control diet. Mice were […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Gear

    Ski Season Is Just Around The Corner. Are You Ready?

    It’s true that many midwesterners are less than thrilled with this week’s blast of winter weather, but skiers elsewhere are getting psyched. But wait, there’s something else: getting in shape. A quick review of the forest of websites offering get-into-ski-shape advice reveals general agreement on the benefits of two exercises: squats and lunges. The rest, my friends, is chatter. Livestrong.com describes squats as “the cornerstone” of your skiing workout,” and recommends that you compound the gain (and pain) by doing […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Why Scratching An Itch Makes It Worse

    Why Scratching An Itch Makes It Worse

    No, it doesn’t make sense. Why would scratching an itch make it itch even more? It’s like eating food making you more hungry. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis thought so too, so they did some scratching experiments–with mice, of course, not humans, to find out why. Why? It’s about itch signals and pain signals and brain chemicals jumping tracks.  A Wash U news story reports that the researchers found that scratching creates a mild amount of pain in the skin, which […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Sex Another Bad Way To Treat Low-Grade Prostate Cancer

    Another Bad Way To Treat Low-Grade Prostate Cancer

    It’s called androgen deprivation therapy, ADT for short, and it works like this: drugs (and there are several that can be used) are administered, often by injection, to suppress testosterone production, because lowering testosterone levels has been shown slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. But wait. Now, from researchers at Tulane University, comes a study showing that for men with low-grade, slow-growing disease, ADT can do more harm than good. There are two reasons for that: one, low-grade prostate […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain The New York Times’ Seven-Minute Workout

    The New York Times’ Seven-Minute Workout

    No, you don’t need exotic machineries; you don’t even need a gym. Here’s what you need: a chair, a wall, and gravity, which is widely available at no cost. Wait, you also need seven minutes. That’s how long it takes, according to New York Times Health columnist Gretchen Reynolds, to stay is shape, but you have to be willing to really put out during those seven minutes. Writing in the Times, Reynolds gives us 12 exercises recommended by Chris Jordan, the […]

    Read more →
  • Eating Well Fitness Pain How To Lose Weight: Stay Cold and Hungry

    How To Lose Weight: Stay Cold and Hungry

    There are some very pleasant ways to keep the weight off–playing tennis or swimming–and then there are two much less pleasant conditions that researchers at Yale believe could do the same thing, by turning white fat (bad) into brown fat (good.) Cold and hunger. Yes, staying cold and hungry could keep us thin. Maybe.  Yale News reports that researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have uncovered a molecular process in the brain known to control eating that transforms white fat into brown […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain Computer Brain Games Are For Losers

    Computer Brain Games Are For Losers

    Brain games, the computer based mental challenges that promise to boost the brain power of older adults, are an excellent way to waste time, but they do almost nothing to make us smarter. That’s the opinion of 69 scholars, including many cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists from around the world. A Stanford University news release reports that the scholars, who have jointly issued a statement expressing their skepticism, say that while people who play computer brain games may improve their scores on […]

    Read more →