Weekend quote – Steve Cole


July 28, 2016
Yossi Sheriff

1st quote

“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,” he said. “Apparently,
the human genome is much more sensitive to different ways of achieving happiness than are conscious minds.” (1)

“In effect, according to Cole, the stress reaction requires “mortgaging our long-term health in favor of our short-term survival.” Our bodies, he concluded, are “programmed to turn misery into death.” (2)

“The IL6 gene controls immune responses but can also serve as ‘fertilizer’ for cardiovascular disease and certain kinds of cancer,” said Cole, who is also a member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCLA’s Molecular Biology Institute. “Our studies were able to trace a biochemical pathway through which adverse life circumstances — fight-or-flight stress responses — can activate the IL6 gene. (3)

“Adverse social conditions can become embedded within the basal transcriptome of primate immune cells within the first 4 mo of life, and they implicate sympathetic nervous system-linked transcription control pathways as candidate mediators of those effects and potential targets for health-protective intervention. ” (4)

“Gating of depression-related mortality risk by IL6 genotype pertained only to inflammation-related causes of death and was associated with increased chronic inflammation as indexed by plasma C-reactive protein. Computational modeling of molecular interactions, in vitro biochemical analyses, in vivo animal modeling, and human molecular epidemiologic analyses thus converge in identifying β-adrenergic activation of GATA1 as a molecular pathway by which social adversity can alter human health risk selectively depending on individual genetic status at the IL6 locus. ” (5)

2nd quote

(1) Be happy: Your genes may thank you for it, Mark Wheeler, UCLA news, July 29, 2013
(2) A Better Kind of Happiness, By Will Storr, The new Yorker July 2016
(3) UCLA study finds genetic link between misery and death, Mark Wheeler, UCLA news, February 24, 2010
(3) Genetic link between misery and death discovered; novel strategy probes ‘genetic haystack’, Science Daily, February 2010
(4) Transcriptional modulation of the developing immune system by early life social adversity, PNAS December 11, 2012 vol. 109 no. 50 20578-20583
(5) Computational identification of gene–social environment interaction at the human IL6 locus, PNAS March 23, 2010 vol. 107 no. 12 5681-5686