Gabor Maté

“Genes can be activated or turned off by factors in the environment. In the Cree population of northwestern Ontario, for example, diabetes is found at a rate five times the Canadian national average, despite the traditionally low incidence of diabetes among native peoples. The genetic makeup of the Cree people cannot have changed in a few generations. The destruction of the Crees’ traditional physically active ways of life, the substitution of high-calorie diets for their previous low-fat, low-carbohydrate eating patterns and greatly increased stress levels are responsible for the alarming rise in diabetes rates.

Although heredity is involved in diabetes, it cannot possibly account for the pandemic among Canada’s native peoples, or among the rest of the North American population, for that matter. We will see that in similar ways changes in society are causing more and more children to be affected by attention deficit disorder. It is easy to jump to hasty conclusions about genetic information. Some studies have identified certain genes, for example, that are said to be more common among people with attention deficit disorder or with other related conditions, such as depression, alcoholism or addiction. But even if the existence of these genes is proven, there is no reason to suppose that they can, on their own, induce the development of ADD or any other disorder. First, not everyone with these genes will have the disorders. Second, not everyone with the disorders will be shown to carry the genes.”


Gabor Maté, Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It
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Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It by Gabor Maté
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