The Biology of Complementary Medicine

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07 Nov 2007, 2:12 pm

The Biology of Complementary Medicine
Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.

Since the dawn of civilization, humans have been preoccupied with the fundamental questions of existence: How did we get here? Why are we here? What controls our lives? For most of Western Civilization’s history, we accepted Judeo-Christian beliefs as answers for our questions. These answers were: We arrived here through Divine creation. We are here to participate in a morality play.

Spiritual forces control our fate. Although these “truths” were not necessarily wrong, they were inadequate, and in the end their narrow view of the Universe hobbled the growth of civilization. Following the Reformation, Modern Science arose to provide alternativeanswers to the questions of human existence. It was decreed that science’s knowledge would be based solely upon the measurable, objective, physical universe. Consequently, this left the study of the universe’s invisible, immaterial forces (spirit) to religion.

For over four hundred years, science vied against religion in the controversy over factors that control our lives. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution mortally wounded the spiritualists by denying God’s involvement in the unfolding of life on this planet. Darwin claimed that species’ evolution was controlled by some kind of internalized hereditary element, referred to as “pangenes.”

Following Darwin, science focused its efforts on the search for the internalized control elements. Forty years ago, the search came to an end when Watson and Crick described the structure and function of the so-called genesis elements, the genes. Since the breaking of the genetic code, biologists have favored the notion that biological expression (our health and behavior) is under the control of genes. In The Amazing Hypothesis, author and DNA co-founder Francis Crick even concluded that physical genes represent the seat of human consciousness.

Ever since then, we have been indoctrinated with the belief that our body, health and even personality traits are directly regulated by our genes. The idea of genes as self-regulatory elements is entrenched in the dogma referred to as the Primacy of DNA. This concept implies that genes represent primary causality (i.e., first cause) in determining the behavior of humans. The Primacy of DNA concept eliminates personal responsibility in the expression of our lives, since science claims that it is our genetic lineage that controls our behavior and our health. If the Primacy of DNA is a valid concept, it would imply that genes are able to turn themselves on and off. For example, consider the concept of a cancer gene turning itself on. An important paper by H. F. Nijhout (BioEssays 12:441, 1990) reveals that “When a gene product is needed, a signal from its environment, not an emergent property of the gene itself, activates expression of that gene.” Simply stated, a gene can not turn itself on or off, it is dependent upon a signal from its environment to control its action. This fact totally invalidates the concept of the Primacy of DNA.

How are genes turned on and off? The DNA helix which comprises genes is covered, and consequently inactivated, by a sleeve of regulatory proteins. The regulatory proteins attach to the genes because of their complementary structure, something like a lock and a key, or a hand and a glove. When the regulatory protein’s shape (conformation) is altered, it will detach from the DNA and expose the genes, allowing them to be read. Regulatory protein conformation is
modified by signals that either bind to or otherwise alter the electromagnetic charge of the protein molecule. Signals are, by definition, environmental stimuli. In contrast to the Primacy of DNA, science unambiguously acknowledges the validity of the Primacy of the Environment. This concept emphasizes environmental (signals) factors as the first cause in determining biological expression and behavior. Further evidence of this is revealed in studies where the nucleus is rendered non-functional, in essence removing it from the cell. Cells in such experiments continue to express complex and purposeful behavioral interactions with their environment despite the absence of a functional nucleus with its contained genes. In other words, the nucleus is not the brain of the cell. The search for the equivalent of a cellular brain leads us to the cell membrane (i.e., the skin of the cell). Recent research reveals that the cell membrane acts as a molecular information processor (B. A. Cornell, et al., Nature 1997, 387:580-584). Protein receptors on the membrane’s surface respond to environmental signals by expressing a change in its conformation. Signal-activated receptors either turn-on existing cellular pathways, or activate DNA regulatory proteins that lead to the expression of alternative gene programs. As is demonstrated in the activity of the immune system, novel environmental stimuli (e.g. antigens) can lead to the production of complementary receptor proteins (e.g. antibodies) by creating new genes.

The cell is like a computer wherein the membrane is the INFORMATION PROCESSOR (CPU), the receptors represent the KEYBOARD and are used to enter data, and the nucleus is the equivalent of the cell’s HARD DISK. The genes contained within the nucleus represent the cell’s PROGRAMMED MEMORY.

Each membrane receptor is individualized (tuned) so it can only recognize (see) and respond to one specific environmental signal. Consequently, the collective population of receptors in a cell’s membrane constitutes a filter through which the cell experiences its environment. An organism can not experience any stimulus for which it has no complementary receptor; it can only sense signals to which its receptors are tuned. Consequently, the behavior of the cell is, by necessity, linked to what it can see. In other words, the cell’s receptors define and shape the experience of the cell.

The cells of each organism, including every human, are distinguished by a particular set of cell surface receptors which serve to individualize each organism. In humans these receptor sets are appropriately referred to as self-receptors (scientifically denoted as Human Leukocytic Antigens or Histocompatibilty Antigens). The identity of each human being is distinguished by a unique set of surface receptors. In a sense, receptors represent molecular social security codes which identify each individual as a unique entity. Very importantly, these self-receptors are on the outer surface of the cell. Since the self-receptors read the external environment, then our identities are derived from some form of externalized environmental signal. Identity is not within the cell, it is
received by the cell!

Biologically active signals may be comprised of either matter (chemical) or energy. Leading-edge research in cell biology reveals that most fundamental behaviors expressed by cells can be regulated by electromagnetic energy signals. An understanding of quantum biophysics reveals how energy signals impact protein conformation and in the process switch receptor proteins on and off, controlling cell behavior. By logic, our source is in part determined by energy signals that are separate or external to ourselves. These individuating immaterial energy signals, which serve as invisible, moving forces, would be recognized, by definition, as spirit! Each signal receiving protein expressed by a cell is dependent upon the existence of a complementary gene, the DNA
molecule which serves as the protein’s molecular blueprint. Since it is currently believed that all our genes are derived from parental DNA, it could rightly be argued that cell behavior is in fact predetermined by the individual’s genetic heritage.

However, in 1988 John Cairns (Nature 335:142, 1988) published a paper that revealed that organisms as primitive as bacteria can actively modify their genes to accommodate environmental changes. Cairns recognized that gene mutations were not solely random events as is currently perceived. His research revealed that genetic mutations can be purposeful adaptations induced by the organism’s response to environmental stresses. In other words, organisms can specifically modify their genes in an effort to accommodate environmental experiences.

Based upon this new perspective, David Thaler published an important revisionist article entitled The Evolution of Genetic Intelligence (Science 264:224, 1994). Thaler introduces the significance of the organism’s perception of its environment in not only regulating the body’s behavior but in rewriting its existing genetic programs. This new perspective is a radical
departure from conventional dogma. Molecular geneticists entertain the notion that behavior and physiological expression represent a simple read-out of existing genetic programs. Thaler’s new perspective recognizes that biological expression is actively defined by the individual’s perception of their life experiences. Through our learning experiences, our perceptions result in the production of new receptor protein filters. These filters are used by our cells, tissues
and organs to regulate their behavior and physiology (health/ disease).

The ultimate source of our empowerment lies in the recognition that our awareness of the environment directly affects our genes, and consequently our behavior and our health.
Rather than perceiving our lives to be a consequence of our genetic heritage, we will soon recognize that we are masters of our own fate. As individuals, we have the opportunity to
actively intervene in selecting or even rewriting the database of our learned beliefs (perception filters). The restructuring of our beliefs directly influences the production of new filters
through which we view our lives. The positive or negative focus of these receptor filters is directly responsible for the traits expressed by the individual in an effort to accommodate their perceived environmental stresses. In recognizing that perception of the environment is instrumental in shaping genetic expression, it becomes incumbent upon us to realize that as we change our perceptions we would significantly impact our health. By actively choosing a
healthy, supportive environment, we are afforded an opportunity to create new filters that encourage healthy programs, which in turn, support our growth. In the process, we are
able to cancel self-destructive pathological behaviors that were formerly selected in response to negative developmental programming.

We are in the process of experiencing a revision of basic biomedical thought. We are ending an era in which we believed that humans and all other life forms were only products of random accumulated genetic accidents. It is that very same belief that has enslaved us to the notion that our fates were somehow predetermined in our genes, and that illnesses and their remedies were all consequences of the physical domain. In contrast, the newly emerging biology recognizes
that who and what we are is primarily associated with environment- mediated selection of programs in our genetic database. When we truly understand this concept we will recognize
that we truly have the power to change our lives. By actively interceding in our belief structure, we can begin to exert control over our health and our fate.

Dr. Lipton, cellular biologist, author and lecturer, formerly served as an Associate Professor of Anatomy at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine, where he participated in the medical curriculum as a lecturer in Cell Biology and Histology. More recently, as a Pathology Fellow at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, his research on the human immune system yielded information on the molecular nature of consciousness and future of human evolution.
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Joined: 30 Oct 2006
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07 Nov 2007, 2:37 pm

hm. i think humans think way to much, what if life was just a big accident? and its all lights out when you die?