The Infidelity Gene
Majid Ali, M.D.
An Article of Darwin-Freud Series
What might health of the liver and the gut have to do do with mental health? To what extent might nutritional deficits and environmental toxins adversely affect mental health? These questions do not seem to interest practitioners of mental health. If they do, they do not let anyone know about it. Certainly I have not read an article by them their case studies in which their use of nutritional therapies and environmental measures helped them improve their care of their patients.
Charles Robert Darwin made hundreds of observations of natural phenomena and drew a handful of inferences. I confess that this one aspect of their work persuaded me years ago to walk in Darwin’s footsteps. As for Freud, the less I say about him, the better.
Now to the subject of this article. I was happy to see the following text in an article by a psychiatrist published in The New York Times on May 24, 2015:
“We are accustomed to thinking of sexual infidelity as a symptom of an unhappy relationship, a moral flaw or a sign of deteriorating social values. When I was trained as a psychiatrist we were told to look for various emotional and developmental factors — like a history of unstable relationships or a philandering parent — to explain infidelity.
But during my career, many of the questions we asked patients were found to be insufficient because for so much behavior, it turns out that genes, gene expression and hormones matter a lot.
Now that even appears to be the case for infidelity.”
Here is something else of interest on the subject. In 2010, Justin R. Garcia of Binghamton University found people with a variant of one dopamine receptor subtype, the D4 receptor, were 50 percent more likely to report sexual infidelity. So, now enters Darwin into the picture. We now have an infidelity gene after all.
The D4 genetic variant has impaired affinity for dopamine (the love hormone) and explains why some individuals are “hungrier for novelty than those lacking this genetic variant.”
Let us hope that this discovery of the infidelity gene will lead to more light on the molecular biology of mental health. So psychologists and psychiatrists might one day also become real students of Darwin and develop a passion for molecular biology of mental health (which I present in depth in my free “Dr. Ali’s Course on Mental Health” posted at http://www.aliscience.org and http://www.alihealing.org.
But when will the field of mental health really, really invite Darwin in and become clinical nutritionists and clinical ecologists?