Epigenetic’s Science is written by award winning author, Raoul Pedretta. Great 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 reassuring. The premise of Epigenetic’s Science is that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects aren’t 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 which are not detected by standard testing and that could cause severe health problems.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells require 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 on between generations and determines how cells in one family will behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will react when similar challenges arise in a different 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. By way of example, each chapter contains an informative section covering among the most frequent Epigenetic changes which occur in all of us: puberty. The chapters include;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations in Birth,”” hormonal changes,””perinatal development,””adolescent-onset diabetes,” and”nutrition.” I enjoyed each of them and found them to be quite 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 then 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 environmental and genetic 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 even 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 concerning the impact that diet has on mice, worms, and other organisms. To start 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 sort 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 have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Basically, they’re growing yeast in lab cultures and watching what happens. After the yeast grows to a certain point, it will replicate and thus create a new production of yeast cells. In this case, the creation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Of course, there are additional 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 are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it is not your regular normal cancer treatment. This study shows they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and halt the growth of cancerous tumors.
In addition to 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’s an exciting and very promising prospect. Just think, one day you could be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your very own drug factory!