About Bailey Kirkpatrick
Bailey Kirkpatrick is a science writer with a background in epigenetics and psychology and a passion for conveying scientific concepts to the wider community. She enjoys speculating about the implications of epigenetics and how it might impact our perception of wellbeing and the development of novel preventative strategies. When she’s not combing through research articles, she also enjoys discovering new foods, taking nighttime strolls, and discussing current events over a hoppy IPA or cold-brewed coffee.

The Epigenetics of Honeybee Memory Offers a Glimpse Into Our Own Minds

January 10, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

The fascinating memory of a honeybee could give us hints about our own long-term memory formation, scientists suggest. According to a new study, epigenetic marks are added to the DNA of honeybees in a response to an enzyme known as DNA methyltransferase (Dmnt) and removed in response to a Dnmt inhibitor drug. This epigenetic mechanism may play a role in memory specificity and influence the removal and re-acquisition of memory. When human memory breaks down or fails, disorders such as [more…]

Being Overweight Adds Distinct Epigenetic Marks to DNA

December 27, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Extra weight that you may have put on during the holidays could not only appear around your belly, but also add epigenetic tags to your DNA, suggests a new study. Having a high body mass index (BMI) was linked to additional methyl tags found at more than 200 areas on the genome, which affects gene expression and could predict susceptibility to some diseases like diabetes. “This issue is particularly relevant because an estimated one and a half billion people throughout [more…]

Dogs Exposed to BPA Give Us Epigenetic Clues About Our Own Wellbeing

December 20, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Exposure to a widespread environmental chemical could cause changes to chemical tags on DNA, which can impact the expression of genes and potentially increase the risk for disease. Researchers studied one of our closest companions – dogs – and the epigenetic effect of bisphenol-A (BPA) found in canned dog food. Since these animals share our environment more closely than any other species, they offer us valuable insight into the exposure of this toxic chemical and its potential epigenetic influence. Extensive [more…]

Epigenetically Reactivating a Compromised Immune System with a Specific Sugar

December 13, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Could a certain type of sugar undo the failure of an individual’s immune system? New research suggests that immune cells can be restored in those with a compromised immune system using a sugar known as beta-glucan, which can turn on an epigenetic “control switch”. For many, getting an infection, such as a sinus infection, feels like an intensified, prolonged cold. Bacterial sinus infections are often easily combated with antibiotics, but typically resolve on their own. However, for more than a [more…]

Binge Drinking as a Teen May Epigenetically Harm the Health of Future Generations

December 6, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Binge drinking as a teenager not only harms your brain and body, but may also epigenetically impact your future children, a new study reports. Excessive drinking in adolescents could turn genes on or off in their offspring’s brain, setting them up for susceptibility to certain diseases. The study, presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting on Nov. 14, 2016, suggests that repeated episodes of excessive drinking when you’re young can actually put your future children at risk for developing [more…]

Eating Sweet, Fatty Foods During Pregnancy is Linked to ADHD in Children

November 22, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A high-fat, high-sugar diet during pregnancy could be connected to ADHD in children, suggests new research. A mother’s diet may adjust epigenetic marks that attach to her child’s DNA, potentially increasing the odds that he or she will develop ADHD. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, has become a prevalent condition in modern society as researchers attempt to explain its dramatic rise. As of 2011, around 6.4 million children ages 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD according to the CDC. [more…]

Could Exotic Herbs Carry Epigenetic Health Benefits?

November 14, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A mixture of herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine may be able to reduce inflammation by adding and removing epigenetic marks on DNA, suggests a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This alternative medicinal mixture, termed “Wutou decoction”, consists of six different herbs that have been widely used in the traditional Chinese medicine community to alleviate arthritis and other diseases. Now, researchers believe it may have an effect on epigenetic mechanisms known as DNA methylation and histone modifications, [more…]

Smoking Cigarettes Stamps Harmful Epigenetic Fingerprint on DNA

November 8, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Not only does cigarette smoke severely harm the body, it also leaves behind long-lasting damage on DNA, according to a recent study. An unwanted surplus of chemical marks are added to specific spots on the genome of a smoker, which may give rise to diseases such as a cancer, cardiovascular and lung disorders, and osteoporosis. A group of international researchers conducted a large scale meta-analysis of genome-wide DNA methylation, pulling data from nearly 16,000 people. Around 15% of participants were [more…]

Epigenetic Clock Destines Some to Age Faster Regardless of Lifestyle

November 1, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Certain people will age quicker and die sooner, even if they keep their body healthy, suggests a largescale analysis by UCLA scientists. Regardless of how well you take care of yourself, an accelerated internal epigenetic clock may lead to an earlier death for some. Researchers assessed data from over 13,000 individuals, measuring levels of DNA methylation in hundreds of specific areas on the genome to determine their “epigenetic age.” Epigenetic marks found on DNA and histone proteins are known to [more…]

Vitamins A and C Could Erase Epigenetic Marks on DNA

October 25, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Vitamins may not only benefit your health, but also remove epigenetic memory or marks on your DNA. A new study conducted by an international group of researchers found that vitamins A and C work in different ways to erase methyl tags present on genes. These findings could help to progress new developments in regenerative medicine and bring us closer to understanding how we may be able to reprogram cells from one type to another. Because all cells in the body [more…]

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