​Should You Get Excited About a Toothbrush that Can Alert You to Disease?

​Should You Get Excited About a Toothbrush that Can Alert You to Disease?
Technology & Health

Would you like to have your tooth brush warn you that you’re about to come down with a disease such as Alzheimer’s or cancer? Technologists have created tiny microchips known as nanopore sequencers that can analyze human DNA strands as they pass through a tiny hole thinner than a human hair on a microchip, and are decoded into a digital reading. These readings can then be compared to genetic markers that in the past have been known to indicate disease, and sent to a cloud so others can see the results almost instantly.

OxfordNanopore Technologies now makes a palm held nanopore sequencer that can fit into a pocket or purse as well as a toothbrush, suggesting that the device may soon become a perceived guardian of health, particularly for those who know they have certain genetic predispositions.

What does it mean to Have a Genetic Predisposition to a Disease?

Having a genetic predisposition means a person may have an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease based on his or her genetic makeup, which is often inherited directly from the parents. Genetic predispositions can contribute to the development of a specific disease, but they do not directly cause disease. Even within the same family, one sibling with a predisposition may develop a disease, while the other sibling with the same predisposition does not.



Although genetic susceptibility may play a small or large part in the development of a certain disease, lifestyle choices play a huge role in determining which it will be, and even whether or not a gene gets switched on at all.

Remember all the publicity that surrounded entertainer Angelina Jolie’s decision to have both of her healthy breasts removed surgically because her doctors convinced her that the BRCA1 gene she carried would inevitably lead to breast cancer?

What aroused the ire of the natural health community about this medical advice was the fact that millions of other women carry the BRCA1 gene and they do not develop breast cancer. Some argue that Jolie was being used for profit by a medical establishment wanting to remove healthy tissue under the guise of prevention.

Why are millions of women who carry the BRCA1 gene able to avoid breast cancer? One plausible answer is that they lead a different kind of lifestyle compared to those with the disease, as Jolie could have easily done and kept her breasts.

Most of us learned the meaning of the term homeostasis when we were in high school, but probably forgot about it soon after. Dictionary.com defines homeostasis as:

“The tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance and equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes. A simple example of homeostasis is the body’s ability to maintain an internal temperature around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, whatever the temperature outside.”

In other words, homeostasis is good health and the absence of disease.

How to Attain and Maintain Homeostasis

The human body constantly strives to achieve and maintain homeostasis. In today’s world, there are many threats that must be overcome to achieve it, with the greed of humans at the top of the list. This means any person wanting to perpetuate homeostasis will need to pay attention to a lot, including:

  • Eating whole foods of the highest quality possible
  • Avoiding processed carbohydrates and high fructose corn syrup like the plague
  • Getting plenty of healthy fats
  • Using top quality sea salt
  • Including raw organic or locally grown fruits and vegetables at every meal
  • Using a variety of herbs and spices frequently
  • Drinking water that’s free of fluoride and staying hydrated
  • Making sure hormones are at optimal levels and in balance
  • Getting some kind of cardio exercise at least 5 times each week
  • Sleeping 7 to 8 hours every night
  • Taking up yoga or medication
  • Showing love and caring to those around you
  • Have a good laugh at least twice a day
  • Taking detoxing baths
  • Reducing your stress level
  • Avoiding hand sanitizers and antibacterial products
  • Breathing with the diaphragm
  • Routinely exposing yourself to sunshine without sun screen
  • Spending time in nature
  • Getting plenty of fresh air
  • Using natural or homeopathic medicines and avoiding pharmaceuticals
  • Reducing exposure to radiation from personal devices, medical tests and dental X rays
  • Avoiding patient recruitment tactics such as mammograms

The Bottom Line

New devices such as the nanopore sequencer can be exciting, until you realize they actually don’t do much to keep you healthy. What I think they will do is scare people needlessly, lead to many unneeded treatments, and change the focus from health to disease. But we’ll see how this develops.

Once you have reached homeostasis, you won’t need any kind of device to tell you whether or not you are healthy. You will already know.