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Falun Gong can influence DNA?

  1. Apr 24, 2005 #1

    Does this imply the possibility that we can influence our DNA with our own consciousness and therefore influence our evolution at will?

    Or is this 'just' another case of self-healing.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2005 #2
    Some thoughts off the top of my head...

    1. 12 people? Very small sample.

    2. You'd probably want to measure the same people before and after practicing, to ensure the effect was due to the practice. How do we know the 6 controls didn't just have different gene expression?

    3. You'd want to measure it against other exercise disciplines as well as non-exercising controls. How do we know this isn't just the result of exercise generally?

    4. "The changes in gene expression of FLG practitioners in contrast to normal healthy controls were characterized by enhanced immunity, downregulation of cellular metabolism, and alteration of apoptotic genes in favor of a rapid resolution of inflammation." Need more info on how this correlation was deduced or measured.

    I was going to add:
    5. If it takes 12 hours/day, how exactly do you live a life?!? Benefits or not, I won't be taking up the practice any time soon.

    but it's a typo! It should read "...reading of FLG books and daily practice of exercises lasting 1-2 hours." :smile:

    In short, to really show that brain activity was influencing DNA would require more tests, as they say in the last paragraph. As for influencing our evolution, you'd have to show we can influence DNA in specific ways, as opposed to just the fact that it is affected, which is what this study purports to show.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2005
  4. Apr 26, 2005 #3
    Experiment Procedures

    Since the authors say the results were significantly different, they probably used the t-test to verify that the difference in means between the two groups were statistically, and generalisably, different. The t-test may be meaningfully applied to sample sizes of 10.

    However, small sample sizes are often the result of the budget available. As I am sure you know, researchers perforce do many experiments that will hopefully lead to larger-scale projects if the results warrant. They have to start somewhere. As is typical of so many "starter" projects, the authors end their report with the standard, disguised plea for more funds, so that they may do the research they need to.

    This would be good. I am trying, however, to think of a way to control all other variables of the lives of the test subjects for the length of time required, so that you could test that it was the exercise, and only the exercise, that made the difference. Keeping these test subjects in a controlled environment, with controlled diet, etc., would be costly, especially if a large sample size is required. I am assuming that Falun Gong, like most disciplines, requires a significant amount of time to master sufficiently to make a difference. The control group could still be chosen at random from the general population.

    From a research point of view, randomly choosing sample subjects from the population at large is supposed to ensure the control group does not already have a pre-set conditioning. I think it safe to conclude the experiment's write-up would have the typical background explanation to let the reviewer's ensure the test subjects and the control group were chosen randomly. It's a pretty standard part of research write-ups.

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