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 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 so 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 clarify the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that aren’t detected by standard testing and that could cause severe health issues.
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 sort of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed on between generations and determines how cells in one family will act 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 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 many ways in which Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter includes an informative section addressing one of the most common Epigenetic changes which occur in all people: puberty. The chapters include;”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, making it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in a condition known as”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 impact that diet has on the body. In particular, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail concerning the effect 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 lab animals also lost muscle mass, which is indicative of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the lab animals were put on a particular sort of diet where they only received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly quickly.
So as to understand what is happening 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 creation 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 analysis of cancerous tumors. In fact, they have recently launched a successful clinical trial where they are attempting to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may seem, it is not your regular normal cancer therapy. This study shows they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
Besides diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science can be used for other types of diseases and conditions, 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 might be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your very own drug factory!