Epigenetic’s Science is written by award winning writer, Raoul Pedretta. Good bye, genetically encoded genes… the first book in the exciting new field of epigenetic biology for general readers. The surging new science of epigenetic genetics provides a veritable cornucopia of new insights into our own bodies and minds – some unsettling, some comforting. The assumption of Epigenetic’s Science is that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects are not very easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can lead to such illnesses as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also describe the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that are not detected by regular testing and that can cause serious health problems.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells need a continuous supply of energy, and this procedure is initiated by a process called”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, favorable mutations accumulate over generations, and when they get together, these cells form a type of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed between generations and decides how cells in 1 family will act in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will react when similar challenges arise in another household member.
When methylation is induced in a cell, the result can be a whole gamut of changes on the cell surface and in the biochemical pathways within the cell. This results in alterations in gene function and a corresponding response on the body. There are a number of ways in which Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For example, each chapter includes an informative section addressing one of the most common Epigenetic changes that occur in all people: puberty. The chapters include;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations in Birth,”” hormonal changes,””perinatal development,””adolescent-onset diabetes,” and”nutrition.” I enjoyed each of these and found them to be very interesting and educational.
As you know, during adolescence, the body increases its production of estrogen (in anticipation of future pregnancy), and in turn, produces DHT (which stands for”dihydrotestosterone”). DHT subsequently binds to the hair follicles, which makes it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in a condition called”male pattern baldness.” Interestingly, this isn’t the only cause of hair loss, since there are other genetic and environmental factors that contribute to hair loss. Epigenetic science goes a step further and suggests that these other causes of hair loss may also be affected by methylation, so future study might shed more light on Epigenetic’s Science.
The next topic that Epigenetic’s Science touches on is the effect that diet has on the body. Specifically, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail about the impact that diet has on mice, worms, and other organisms. To begin with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans was given a high fat diet, it became obese and diabetic. Interestingly, the laboratory animals also lost muscle mass, which is suggestive of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the lab animals were put on a special type of diet where they only received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly rapidly.
So as to understand what’s going on here, you have to have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they are growing yeast in lab cultures and watching what happens. When the yeast grows to a certain point, it will replicate and thus create a new generation of yeast cells. In cases like this, the generation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Of course, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, including gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they have recently established a successful clinical trial where they’re attempting to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it’s not your regular normal cancer therapy. This study shows they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and halt the growth of cancerous tumors.
Besides diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science may be used for other types of diseases and ailments, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Needless to say, these studies are extremely small so we don’t have much of a sense of what they will mean for human health. Still, it is an exciting and very promising prospect. Just think, one day you could have the ability to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your very own drug factory!