So, you're 35 years-old, single, still living at home, broke, unemployed, sleeping on the broken-down couch, and dating trailer-trash. Of course, thanks to the media and their steady line-up of pop-psychologists who are ready to tell you who to blame (other than yourself), you know that none of this is your fault. In the past, your life has been tragically destroyed by parents who abused (or didn't...Mr. Garrison), government mind control projects, aspertame, the greed-filled, evil, and soul-sucking corporations, abusive priests, second-hand smoke, subliminal messages, alien implants, fast food, war toys, psychiatric drugs, dust mites, bird flu, porn, illegal drugs, glue sniffing, poverty, pick an -ism, Republicans, Liberals, the teletubbies, well, you get the idea.
Now, according to Scotland On Sunday, you may have been handed an excuse that even old Rush Limbaugh can't refute; because, poverty may just be passed down genetically. Richard Gray writes:
SCOTTISH scientists have discovered a "poverty gene" which causes people from deprived areas to age rapidly, pass on health problems to the next generation and might even explain negative attitudes to employment. Research in Glasgow has established that deprivation can lead to an overactive immune system which quickly uses up the body's supply of spare cells needed to keep ageing at bay. It means a typical 55-year-old from the city's East End might have a "biological age" closer to 70. Centuries of natural selection among poor communities mean those with highly active immune systems are more likely to pass their genes on, condemning the next generation to grow old before their time. Most astonishing of all, it is suspected that a hyperactive immune system floods the brain with a cocktail of chemicals which suppress the natural desire for self-advancement.1
Naturally, poverty rights' advocates have siezed on the news of this discovery with the glee generally reserved for announcing that one has finally ended one's virginity. They are shouting from the moutaintops that this is proof that poverty is not the result of merely idle hands and that, what else, more governmental money should be sunk into providing health care for the poor to see that the "cycle of deprivation" is broken. On the other side of the spectrum, "fears have also been expressed that linking poverty to genetic traits could have the opposite effect by encouraging the view that the poor should be abandoned as a lost cause."1
Researchers point to a history of disparity in levels of quality of health care between the wealthy and the poor as a cause for this genetic distinction:
Initial findings from the new research have shown that those from poorer areas are hit with a 'double whammy' of unhealthy environmental factors and an inherited predisposition to poor health. Dr Chris Packard, a biochemist and principal investigator in the study, said: "We are looking at the idea that these people suffer from a chronic state of inflammation where their immune systems are constantly on a high state of alert.
"Compounds called cytokines, which talk to other parts of the immune system to prepare it for the invasion of bacteria, are far higher in people from deprived areas compared with the more affluent ones. This constant state of alert seems to be prematurely ageing the body beyond chronological age and so accelerates chronic diseases - they are, in a sense, old beyond their years."
Packard believes this overactive immune system has developed in poorer communities by being inherited over generations. He claims that children with more aggressive biological defences were better able to survive potentially deadly Victorian-era diseases such as measles and so were able to pass on this trait to their own children. This has led to large swathes of deprived communities who have lived for generations in the same area, now suffering from high levels of immune activity. While this can provide protection during childhood against diseases, it causes additional stress to the body in adulthood, which causes it to age far faster.1
The Cytokines also affect mood, so those who are negatively affected are also more likely to be depressed. Their overall mental outlook will be affected as well, in that they are likely to feel "trapped in poverty and unable to see any benefits in changing their lifestyle or extending their life."
One critical point that we must all be wary of. This discovery should lead no one to think of the poor nor the ill as being less than human. That is the road that leads to eugenics, a road that the Nazis tried to pave once before and their attempt to travel that path was disastrous to humanity.
- Click HERE to read more about Poverty.
- For some pictures that resemble the America in which I was raised, click HERE.