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 offers a veritable cornucopia of fresh insights into our own bodies and minds – some unsettling, some comforting. 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 lead to such disorders as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also describe the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that are not detected by standard 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 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 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 family member.
When methylation is induced in a cell, the result may 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 reaction physically. There are many ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For example, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most common Epigenetic changes that exist 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 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 subsequently binds to the hair follicles, making it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in 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 influenced 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 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 start with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans has been 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 that contained carbohydrates; they lost body fat fairly quickly.
In order to understand what is going on here, you must take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they are 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 generation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Needless to say, there are additional Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, including gene regulation and the analysis of cancerous tumors. In actuality, they have recently established 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 regular normal cancer treatment. This study shows that they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and halt the growth of cancerous tumors.
In addition to diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science can be used for other types of diseases and ailments, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Of course, these studies are very 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!