Sometimes when you chat to people about their health, they often say that they can’t change because of their genes replying ‘My Mum’s overweight, so that’s why I’m heavy too, it’s in my genes’ or ‘My dad had a heart attack at 45, so now I’m prone to heart disease too.’
Some people just accept their genetics as something that they can’t change, but what if you had the tools and knowledge to improve your own situation and reverse your ‘genetic lottery’. These were questions that Cyndi O’Meara, creator of the documentary ‘What’s With Wheat?’ asked.
Cyndi’s family is the largest haemophilic family in the world, originating in Iowa, USA. Her mother had six brothers and sisters who had the condition, while another sister was a carrier. Sadly, most of them died young, however it wasn’t the disease that killed them, instead it was the blood infusion they all received to treat the disease. This blood was infected with the HIV virus, which caused them to contract AIDS and eventually die.
As well as suffering from hemophilia, subsequent generations of Cyndi’s family also suffered from autoimmune diseases, cancer, hepatitis, brain hematoma, leukemia and diabetes. However haemophilia only started to appear in her family from the 1930s. This was a time when farmers started using chemicals to control pests, disease and weeds across the United States, including the corn fields of Iowa, where her family lived and worked. At that time large-scale spraying of chemicals like DDT and arsenic were common. These toxic substances have since been linked to a range of health conditions, including the possible mutation of the gene for haemophilia.