Your thinking determines your physical strength, New study suggests

Even though it is quite a fact that in most of the cases, the mind has a major role to play in the functioning of the body, those in the medical field have always tried to attribute the pattern of body functions and abilities of a person to genes and environmental factors. Psychologists have found in a new study that genetic risk information can have a considerable effect on the body functioning while exercising, eating etc. irrespective of the genetic variant of the person.

The study included two experiments, one of which was conducted among 116 young and middle-aged people by inviting them for what was deceivingly named a “personalized medicine study.” They were tested for the presence of a gene variant which is capable of influencing the capacity of a person to exercise. They were also asked to take a treadmill test. When the results were given to them a week later, they were randomly placed into two groups. They were not given the actual report but an experimentally manipulative report wherein one group of people were told that they had a form of a gene called CREBI that can cause the person being easily tired. The others were told that they have a high endurance capacity which will enable them to exercise effectively and for a longer period of time. They were again asked to take a treadmill test and the observations were recorded.

The observations showed that the information did influence them as the first group which was told that they had a lower endurance capacity on an average stopped running on the treadmill 22 seconds quicker than their earlier time. Their lung capacity seemed to be lowered and their bodies appeared to be lesser efficient in removing carbon dioxide. On the other hand the second group proved to be more enduring and performed better in the second test which was after knowing the test results.

The second experiment was conducted on another group of 107 people telling them that it was a test for FTO gene which decided their level of appetite. They were given a meal and asked to rate how full they felt. As in the first experiment, they were divided into two groups and were given fake results telling one group that they were hungrier and the other group was told that they were less hungry. When they were gain given the same meal, those who were told that they were hungrier than others, did not shown detectable change but the other group showed a comparatively lesser capacity to eat food.

This study which showed a placebo response was indeed a ground breaking discovery in the medical field and can be used in reducing the effects of different ailments which are difficult to control and cure.