There’s now a genetic test for the ability not to make the same mistake twice, or rather the same unhealthy choices. DNA testing for ancestry may also offer genetic testing for various types of “factoid tests” based on numerous genetic studies.
What the “learn from past mistakes” genetic test tells you is whether you’re likely to make the same mistake in choices repeatedly, or instead learn from your first decision, good or bad, and move forward. Did your family members remember their unhealthiest or healthiest choices, or do they continue to make the same decisions repeatedly? It’s a factoid test, which means it may or may not be accurate, but it points to some possibilities that learning from past errors may be genetic.
When doing your family history, did you notice that relatives in the past did or did not learn from experiences? Your genes may give you a clue as to what you learn from past mistakes and how you transcend them, learn from them, and move on to better decisions that won’t blindside you early on in your life-changing selections such as educational choices, careers, or relationships.
Check out the genetic tests for learning from past choices or mistakes at the various testing companies site. For example, FamilyTreeDNA (in addition to DNA testing for ancestry) offers low-cost DNA tests for various factoids based on studies, including, Alcohol Flush Reaction, Avoidance of Errors, Back Pain, Bitter Taste perception, Caffeine metabolism, Earwax Type Freckling, Longevity, Male Pattern Baldness, Muscle Performance, and Nicotine dependence.
Now it may be possible to test for certain genes that tell you whether family members may have the genes for avoiding errors and thereby possibly learning from their past mistakes, transcending them, and moving on. Or did many of your family members in past generations repeat the same errors again and again?
Regarding family history, A.J.D, an Arden Arcade, Sacramento nutritionist had the DNA Factoid Test for Avoidance of Errors to find out about family history decision-making abilities of relatives. It pertained to decisions made that didn’t blindside family members early on in their careers, such as working their way through school in the old days against all odds in the environment, for example, the 1929-1935 economic situation in Sacramento.
So she wanted to see whether family members inherited a specific gene for avoiding errors. Could it pertain to relatives that worked their way through school in varying years from 1925 to 1935 in the midst of economic upheaval?
There’s a factoid test for avoiding errors offered by FamilyTree DNA. As you know factoid tests are just that–factoids. But perhaps they may tell you something about why family members might have inherited the tendency to avoid errors or make the same decisions again.
We are often angry at ourselves because we are unable to learn form certain experiences. Numerous times we have made the wrong decision and its consequences were unfavorable. But the cause does not lie only in our thinking.
A mutation in a specific gene can also be responsible, because it can cause a smaller number of dopamine receptors. They are responsible for remembering our wrong choices, which in turn enables us to make better decisions when we encounter a similar situation.
What the study showed is that results suggest that a genetically driven reduction in certain receptors leads to deficient feedback integration, which in plain language means you can’t learn from your mistakes. You make the same errors again and again.
The scientists found behavioral differences between the genetic groups compared. In technical language, the scientists call inability to avoid errors “impaired recruitment of the ventral striatum.” Researchers in the study discuss how certain the gene sequences handle reversals, which might explain the behavioral differences between the genetic groups.
According to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, March 25, 2009, 29(12):3695-3704; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5195-08.2009, “Dopamine DRD2 Polymorphism Alters Reversal Learning and Associated Neural Activity,” in humans, presence of an A1 allele of the DRD2/ANKK1-TaqIa polymorphism is associated with reduced expression of dopamine (DA) D2 receptors in the striatum. Recently, it was observed that carriers of the A1 allele (A1+ subjects) showed impaired learning from negative feedback in a reinforcement learning task.
In the study, using functional MRI (fMRI), we investigated carriers and noncarriers of the A1 allele while they performed a probabilistic reversal learning task. A1+ subjects showed subtle deficits in reversal learning. In particular, these deficits consisted of an impairment in sustaining the newly rewarded response after a reversal and in a generally decreased tendency to stick with a rewarded response.
Both genetic groups showed increased fMRI signal in response to negative feedback in the rostral cingulate zone (RCZ) and anterior insula. Negative feedback that incurred a change in behavior additionally engaged the ventral striatum and a region of the midbrain consistent with the location of dopaminergic cell groups.
The response of the RCZ to negative feedback increased as a function of preceding negative feedback. However, this graded response was not observed in the A1+ group. Furthermore, the A1+ group also showed diminished recruitment of the right ventral striatum and the right lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC) during reversals.
Together, these results suggest that a genetically driven reduction in DA D2 receptors leads to deficient feedback integration in RCZ. This, in turn, was accompanied by impaired recruitment of the ventral striatum and the right lOFC during reversals, which might explain the behavioral differences between the genetic groups.
So basically, when A.J.D. received her results on the Avoidance of Errors Factoid DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA, what she found out was that she had the gene sequence or combination of two letters in the DNA that her and family members were “much more likely to avoid errors.” As you can see, A.J.D’s marker was GG, that is two copies of the gene marker, GG, which makes her and any family members inheriting this gene combination much more likely to avoid errors.
It also tells you something about her dopamine receptors, if they are genetically influenced. You can check out the study for yourself. But remember that other factors can influence how one person responds to avoiding errors or correcting them quickly.
AJD’s Avoidance of Error Test Results Looked Like This
Avoidance of Errors Test Results
Marker Results Analysis rs1800497
AA Less likely to avoid errors
GG Much more likely to avoid errors (AJD was much more like to avoid errors)
AG More likely to avoid errors
A.J.D also took FamilyTreeDNA’s Caffeine Metabolism test. She wanted to find out why she and so many other family members couldn’t tolerate even a small amount of caffeine. These factoid tests merge or marry DNA-driven genealogy and family history with the science of tailoring your foods and beverages to your DNA by looking at your genes and those of family members with similar issues.
You need to remember, though they are Factoid Tests, and the outcomes may be environmental or affected by other genes. What really would help is a genetic test of the entire genome, when it becomes affordable to the average person.
At that time, family history and genetics will be able to combine genealogy with the metabolic and genetic history of individuals and relatives in genograms which are genetic and genealogical medical histories that can be put into time capsules for future generations.
After taking the Caffeine Metabolism Factoid test, A.J.D. found out she was a fast caffeine metabolizer. Yet, she continues to get the shakes whenever she eats too much chocolate or drinks too much tea, yes, even decaf tea, that contains only around 9 percent of caffeine. She’s switched to ginger tea.
For some people, “food hits them like a bomb.” All of a sudden, they start to shake and feel anxious, as if too much insulin and adrenalin is pouring into their blood as soon as they eat something that is not mainly protein. Their blood glucose levels may plummet to 60 after eating a tablespoon of honey, for example, as is what happened to A.J.D, who has metabolic syndrome and gains weight primarily in the abdomen.
She no longer eats foods containing sugar, but will eat fresh fruit. A.J.D. decided to take a caffeine metabolism test. She sent in a sample of DNA from a swab of her inner cheeks to Family Tree DNA. A few weeks later, she got the results. She’s a fast caffeine metabolizer. Her body is supposed to metabolize caffeine quickly.
Yet she still reacts to caffeine with extreme sensitivity, as if her body can’t get rid of it. She thinks, “maybe my body gets rid of it so fast that the caffeine hits so quickly, it’s like a jolt where everything inside seems to speed up almost immediately.” She gets the same reaction from dental anesthetics, even the type with no vaso-constrictors.
Some people have a liver that gets rid of caffeine quickly. They are called fast caffeine metabolizers. Other people have a liver that gets rid of caffeine slowly. These people are called slow caffeine metabolizers. But how does the rate at which your body gets rid of caffeine affect your general health?
First, you should know that the DNA test is a factoid test. It’s for speculation or entertainment at cocktail parties. A factoid could resemble a fact, but is not necessarily a fact because it has not been proven. But genetic factoid tests are available currently at Family Tree DNA and other genetic testing companies to see how fast your body metabolizes a particular food or beverage.
The Caffeine Metabolism Factoid test is based on one study noted at the Family Tree DNA site. Basically the conclusion of the study revealed that the intake of coffee was associated with an increased risk of nonfatal MI (non-fatal heart attack) only among individuals with slow caffeine metabolism, suggesting that caffeine plays a role in this association.
A.J.D took two of the factoid tests, one testing specific genes as related to caffeine metabolism, and another test, related to avoidance of errors. She was surprised at the results that she’s a fast caffeine metabolizer.
Regarding the idea of tailoring your foods to your genes, you should know that when ordering or viewing your individual “Factoids”, you acknowledge your understanding that these tests are based on studies – some of which may be controversial – and results are not intended to diagnose disease or medical conditions, therefore not serving the purpose of medical advice.
They are offered exclusively for curiosity purposes, for example, to see how your result compare with what the scientific papers say. Other genetic and environmental variables may also impact these same physiological characteristics. They are merely a conversational piece, or a “cocktail party” test.
Even if these tests are theoretical, at best, if you have the gene to metabolize caffeine slowly, that means the caffeine stays in your body longer. Why would you want to stress out your body with caffeine if your genes, organs, cells, and blood all have problems getting rid of caffeine?
Here’s what the study pointed to, when it comes to tailoring your food and beverages to your genetic expression. And all you really can surmise is what the study points to.
According to the results of a case-control study reported in the March 8, 2006 issue of JAMA, coffee is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world, and caffeine consumption has been associated with increased risk for non-fatal myocardial infarction.
Caffeine is primarily metabolized by the cytochrome P450 1A2 in the liver, accounting for 95% of metabolism. Carriers of the gene variant *1F allele are slow caffeine metabolizers, whereas individuals homozygous for the *1A/*1A genotype are rapid caffeine metabolizers.
When A.J.D read the results online at the Family Tree DNA browser, she first looked at the “results column” which offers the 3 possible results from the test, and the arrow labeled “your results” pointed to the one that has been verified for her.
The disclaimer on the site note that the results are not intended to diagnose disease or medical conditions, and do not serve the purpose of medical advice. They are offered exclusively for curiosity purposes, for example to see how your result compared with what the scientific papers say.
Other Variables May Impact The Same Physiological Characteristics
That explains why A.J.D. continues to feel anxious when consuming any food or beverage containing caffeine. Other genetic and environmental variables may also impact these same physiological characteristics. They are merely a conversational piece.
What Did the Actual Caffeine Study Reveal?
The association between coffee intake and risk of myocardial infarction (MI) remains controversial. According to the March 8, 2006 study, “Coffee, CYP1A2 genotype, and risk of myocardial infarction,” AMA. 2006 Mar 8;295(10):1135-41, by authors, Cornelis MC, El-Sohemy A, Kabagambe EK, Campos H. Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Read the study and/or abstract at: JAMA. 2006 Aug 16;296(7):764-5; author reply 765-6.
The researchers used coffee in their study because coffee is a major source of caffeine, which is metabolized by the polymorphic cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) enzyme. Individuals who are homozygous for the CYP1A2*1A allele are “rapid” caffeine metabolizers, whereas carriers of the variant CYP1A2*1F are “slow” caffeine metabolizers.
The purpose of the study was to find out whether CYP1A2 genotype modifies the association between coffee consumption and risk of acute nonfatal MI.
As to the design, setting, and participants, the study noted the number of case. For example: Cases (n = 2014) with a first acute nonfatal MI (nonfatal heart attack) and population-based controls (n = 2014) living in Costa Rica between 1994 and 2004, matched for age, sex, and area of residence, were genotyped by restriction fragment-length polymorphism polymerase chain reaction. A food frequency questionnaire was used to assess the intake of caffeinated coffee.
Researchers studied risk. That means they studied the risk of caffeine on the heart. They wanted to know whether people that are slow metabolizers of caffeine are more likely to suffer non-fatal heat attacks. The researchers compared specific genes of fast and slow metabolizers of caffeine. What the scientists studied was the relative risk of nonfatal MI (nonfatal heart attack) associated with coffee intake, calculated using unconditional logistic regression.
What they found as the results of the study, were that fifty-five percent of cases (n = 1114) and 54% of controls (n = 1082) were carriers of the slow *1F allele. So you have a majority of cases carrying the gene for slow metabolism of caffeine.
For carriers of the slow *1F allele, the multivariate-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of nonfatal MI associated with consuming less than 1, 1, 2 to 3, and 4 or more cups of coffee per day were 1.00 (reference), 0.99 (0.69-1.44), 1.36 (1.01-1.83), and 1.64 (1.14-2.34), respectively.
Corresponding ORs (95% CIs) for individuals with the rapid *1A/*1A genotype were 1.00, 0.75 (0.51-1.12), 0.78 (0.56-1.09), and 0.99 (0.66-1.48) (P = .04 for gene x coffee interaction). For individuals younger than the median age of 59 years, the ORs (95% CIs) associated with consuming less than 1, 1, 2 to 3, or 4 or more cups of coffee per day were 1.00, 1.24 (0.71-2.18), 1.67 (1.08-2.60), and 2.33 (1.39-3.89), respectively, among carriers of the *1F allele.
The corresponding ORs (95% CIs) for those with the *1A/*1A genotype were 1.00, 0.48 (0.26-0.87), 0.57 (0.35-0.95), and 0.83 (0.46-1.51). Basically the conclusion of the study revealed that the intake of coffee was associated with an increased risk of nonfatal MI (non-fatal heart attack) only among individuals with slow caffeine metabolism, suggesting that caffeine plays a role in this association.
So did the study suggest that caffeine plays a role in the association between having the gene for metabolizing caffeine slowly and non-fatal heart attack? If you are a fast metabolizer of caffeine and still have problems with it, maybe there are other factors involved besides the genes studied, whether in your organs, or environmental.
You react to foods and your environment at the cellular, chemical, molecular and even sub-atomical levels in addition to whether you have specific genes that metabolize foods, chemicals, or medicines at different rates. Ask yourself whether if you metabolize a specific food quickly, do you also metabolize your medicines or anesthetics fast as well?
Has anyone studied your genes on how you react to medicines so you can tailor your anesthetics or treatments to your individual genetic responses? Without doing your entire genome, how can you really know how your genes respond? Are the tests still in their infancy? Or can you learn to tailor foods to your body with some of these factoid tests based on medical studies?
This goes in the face of the latest studies, still controversial telling people to drink coffee to help protect against heart arrhythmia. Maybe with so many other factors involved, you should just gulp down coffee just because you hear it’s safe on the news.
How do you know whether it’s safe for you as an individual? That’s why you need to apply your own body’s response to foods or beverages
AJD’s results of the Caffeine Metabolism Test looked like the following:
Marker Results Analysis rs762551
AA Fast caffeine metabolism (AJD’s results showed fast caffeine metabolism)
CC Slow caffeine metabolism
AC Slow caffeine metabolism