(NaturalNews) Dr. Dean Ornish, head of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, is a well-known author advocating lifestyle changes to improve health. Dr. Ornish is also affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco. He recently reported on the Gene Expression Modulation by Intervention with Nutrition and Lifestyle (GEMINAL) study. This study indicated that making positive changes in one's diet, exercise, and stress management can affect more than a person's weight. Dr. Ornish's study was published in the June 16, 2008 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study followed 30 men who had opted out of conventional treatment for low-risk prostate cancer. The men decided, before they were recruited to take part in the study, not to undergo treatments such as surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy normally advocated for the disease. The men were closely monitored for tumor progression through the duration of the study.
Instead, for three months, they made changes in their lifestyle: They ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products. They exercised moderately, walking for half an hour a day. Each day they spent an hour practicing stress management methods such as meditation. Additionally, the men participated in support group sessions.
As the study progressed, the men lost weight, lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol, and generally saw improvements in their health. Previous studies gave evidence of lowered prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels with dietary changes.
Biopsies taken at the beginning and end of the study demonstrated some more significant changes. About 500 genes evidenced changes in activity at the end of the study. 48 disease preventing genes were turned on. 453 genes which promote disease, like breast and prostate cancers, were turned off.
Dr. Ornish expressed excitement over the results in a Reuters interview. The implications of this study go beyond men and prostate cancer. People are not doomed by their genetics. They can make positive changes fairly quickly. In three months, genetic changes can be made through the choices we make in food, exercise, and the way we handle stress.
This is an area of study that merits further investigation, the researchers concluded.
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