Epigenetic’s Science is written by award winning author, 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 fresh insights into our own bodies and minds – some unsettling, some reassuring. The premise of Epigenetic’s Science is that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects are not so easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can lead to such disorders as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also clarify the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants which are not detected by regular testing and that could cause serious health issues.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells need a constant supply of energy, and this process is initiated by a process called”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, positive mutations accumulate over generations, and if they get together, these cells form a sort of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed between generations and determines how cells in 1 family will act in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will react when similar challenges arise in another family 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 causes alterations in gene function and a corresponding response on the body. There are a number of ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes which exist in all people: puberty. The chapters comprise;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations at 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 then, produces DHT (which stands for”dihydrotestosterone”). DHT then binds to the hair follicles, which makes it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in men and a condition called”male pattern baldness” Interestingly, this isn’t the only cause of hair loss, as 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 may shed even more light on Epigenetic’s Science.
The next topic that Epigenetic’s Science touches on is the impact that diet has on the body. In particular, 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 diabetic and obese. 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 just received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body fat fairly quickly.
So as to understand what is going on here, you have to take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Basically, they’re growing yeast in laboratory 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 this case, the generation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Of course, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, including gene regulation and the analysis of cancerous tumors. In actuality, they have recently launched a successful clinical trial in which they are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it is not your everyday normal cancer therapy. This study shows that they are able to control and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
Besides diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science may be used for other kinds of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Of course, these studies are extremely small so we do not 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 might have the ability to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your own drug factory!