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 bodies and minds – some unsettling, some reassuring. The premise of Epigenetic’s Science is the fact 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 result in such disorders 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 can cause serious health issues.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells require a constant supply of energy, and this procedure 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 type of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed between generations and decides how cells in one family will behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will respond when similar challenges arise in a different 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 reaction on the body. There are many ways in which Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter contains an informative section covering among the most frequent Epigenetic changes that exist in all of us: 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 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 men and a condition called”male pattern baldness” Interestingly, this is not 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 research 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 about the effect that diet has on rats, rodents, and other organisms. To begin with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans has been given a high fat diet, it became diabetic and obese. Interestingly, the lab animals also lost muscle mass, which is indicative of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the lab animals were put on a particular type of diet where they just received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body fat fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what’s going on here, you must take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Basically, they’re growing yeast in laboratory 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 cases like this, the creation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Needless to say, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, including gene regulation and the analysis of cancerous tumors. In fact, 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 seem, it is not your everyday normal cancer therapy. This study shows they are able to control and regulate cells and halt the growth of cancerous tumors.
Besides diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science can be used for other kinds of diseases and ailments, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Needless to say, 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 generation; essentially creating your very own drug factory!