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Observations BMJ Confidential

Tim Spector: Go with your gut

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 31 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k319
Duncan Smith


Tim Spector, 59, is professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College, London, who 25 years ago founded the hugely productive UK Twins Registry. It now comprises 13 000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins and is used to untangle the contribution of genes to many human characteristics. One unexpected finding is that our propensity to religious belief is 50% inherited. His current focus is the gut, which is the subject of his 2015 book The Diet Myth, in which he argues that the gut microbiome is worth careful husbandry, as it determines both health and longevity. Look after your gut, he urges, and it will look after you.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be a cowboy—although I’ve been only partly successful. Being rebellious, I refused to admit to wanting to do medicine (like my father) until the day of my medical student interview.

What was your best career move?

Breaking my internal medicine training to do a masters in epidemiology at the London School of …

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