Epigenetic’s Science is composed 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 the fact that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects are not 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 which are not detected by standard testing and that could cause serious health problems.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells need a continuous supply of energy, and this process is initiated by a process referred to as”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 between generations and decides how cells in one family will act in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will respond when similar challenges arise in another 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 a number of ways in which Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter includes an informative section covering among the most frequent Epigenetic changes that occur in all of us: puberty. The chapters include;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations at Birth,”” hormonal changes,””perinatal development,””adolescent-onset diabetes,” and”nutrition.” I enjoyed each of them 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 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 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 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 has been given a high fat diet, it became diabetic and obese. Interestingly, the lab 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 only received food that contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly quickly.
In order to understand what is happening here, you must take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Basically, 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 generation of yeast cells. In cases like this, the generation 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, such as gene regulation and the study 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’s 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 types of diseases and ailments, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Needless to say, 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 be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your very own drug factory!