Genetic Evidence for an Environmental Cause

Genealogy has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember.  I love the detective work that goes into it.  The feeling of finding that elusive missing link that brings branches closer together.  Never would I have thought that I would eventually use my family tree to do detective work on my family’s health and well-being.  In the very recent past, I uncovered a death certificate of an ancestor on my father’s side.  The cause of death was listed as mental exhaustion, and this individual was in an institution.  This made me think of an article I read shortly after our son’s autism diagnosis on families with a history of mental illness having a higher risk for autism.  It had never occurred to me to look into our families’ past.  Years went by before I found this death certificate.

That evening I delved into my records looking and searching for any and all ancestors that may have had mental illness.  I do realize that these things were long covered up, but there was a chance that I would find something that might corroborate the article I read so many years ago.  What I found was not a long family history of mental disease, but a long line of hearty people.  Being first-generation American, and still in communication with family overseas, I realized that my family here in the U.S., is nothing like the ancestors I research or my family in Eastern Europe.  It appears that once my family came to the U.S., we almost immediately began to have health issues.  Each and every one of my grandmother’s siblings here in America died of some major health crisis like cancer or aneurysm.  As for the siblings back in the mother country . . . they lived well into their 90s without distress.

This Genealogy Day I will be spending a great deal more time realizing that as much as America has brought our family peace and freedom, it has been at a price.  Was it the repeated vaccinations my mom, grandparents, aunts and uncle received as immigrants moving from country to country?  Is it the American diet?  Is it the smog?  What is it?  There was a very clear shift in my family’s health since arriving on this soil.  We Americans have the highest vaccination rate, the worst diet, and we add chemicals to everything.  Now there is talk that aspartame is being added to cow’s milk.

Family treeSo, while the studies linking autism with a family history of mental illness are the strongest evidence yet of a genetic component, I don’t see it. And even the geneticist that swore he could show it to me with my son’s genetic tests was stumped.  Looking at my family tree makes it clear that something going on here — in the United States — is to blame for my son’s autism.

~ Cupcake

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5 Responses to Genetic Evidence for an Environmental Cause

  1. Shirley sullivan says:

    Interestingly, I spoke with my son this morning about how flu shots boost the economy via prescription drugs, or those without insurance purchasing meds over the county. What is in those flu shots and pneumonia shots? I knew a very successful restuaranteur in California who moved back to Jamaica because he discovered that when they spent two months out of the year there, his high blood pressure, cholesterol, and all of his other ailments no longer existed
    Money is truly “the root of all evil”, politics, wall street, etc.

  2. Sue Morgan says:

    My mom’s oldest brother was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. He worked his entire life in a shoe factory. I bet there were all sorts of chemicals in that place. My mom’s favorite aunt became addicted to morphine via her doctor husband after they REMOVED her sinuses and had to be strapped to the bed to withdraw from the drug. I come from a long line of alcoholics and religious, well, nuts. The ancestors who lived on the farm? Lived long and were still strong. Those that mostly lived in town? Not so healthy. And remember, all these folks, even my grandma, had only outhouses until the 1960s! Even the townfolks, for the most part. Now that little town, you wouldn’t recognize it, but it is full of fat, pampered Missourians. Who likely have a plethora of health problems. I haven’t been back there since the 1970s (I’m in California). I’m allergic to many things, constantly struggle with my weight. My sons are both drug addicts. Well, so is my daughter, who also struggles with her weight. I am a recovering addict. And I’m raising my ten-year-old grandson, who is very overweight, has autism, ADD, ODD, anxiety, depression, and allergies. We are poisoning our country and our people. It is NOT “better living through chemistry”!

  3. Mary Cavanaugh says:

    Traditional medicine uses genetics as an excuse for what they themselves are creating. Our bodies are wonderfully made. God does not make junk! There are Doctors in my company who understand nutrition and the importance of real hydration that say we should live between 120 and 130. This is my belief also. We should be dying in our sleep not from chronic diseases, procedures and pharmaceutical drugs.

  4. melissa says:

    Great post! What a gift to be able to see into your history like that. I can see it even in my immediate relatives that are still alive- anxiety, depression, IBD, bone deterioration, thyroid cancer. I wish I could compare it to my European ancestors like you have.

    Now the question is, what can WE do to make sure our descendants don’t have a similar fate? (I think we are all doing it already).

  5. KarenS. says:

    I find this fascinating. I, too, am passionate about my family’s genealogy. I’ve tended to focus my research on my maternal grandmother’s side, who were all in Mexico and New Mexico for about the last 400 years. I have a cousin on my dad’s side who has traced my paternal branches from Germany. She has shared all of her findings with me. THAT is the side I’m very curious about. I know of at least one great-uncle who died fairly young (in his 30’s, I think?) in an asylum in Michigan. I believe he had epilepsy. There is history of some mental illness on my dad’s side – depression, suicide, bipolar disorder… All of these “mentally ill” ancestors were in the states. Hmmm… Time for some more digging.

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