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.

A Child’s Mental Fitness Could Be Epigenetically Influenced by Dad’s Diet

April 18, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

We often think that taking supplements is a good thing – but what if we consume too much? And could doing so negatively affect our children? Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) found that fathers who consumed an excessive amount of certain supplements could epigenetically harm their offspring, affecting their children’s memory and learning ability. As we know, a mother has profound impact on her children and their development. Epigenetic research has shown that mothers can influence [more…]

Epigenetic Computer Program ‘CancerLocator’ Detects and Pinpoints Cancer

April 11, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

What if instead of invasive cancer tests, scientists could run a blood sample through a computer program and not only detect whether cancer is present or not, but pinpoint where in the body it’s located? This technology, harnessed by a program called CancerLocator, could potentially be ready in a year. In a recent study published in Genome Biology, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) developed a computer program that identifies specific epigenetic patterns, or a combination [more…]

Most Dangerous Lifestyle Activity Uncovered in New Epigenetic Mortality Risk Profile

March 28, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Aging and mortality has been a fascinating topic of interest recently, particularly in the field of epigenetics. What are the chemical DNA markers of age? Can we look at someone’s epigenome to determine their risk for death? Could we reverse these epigenetic tags to restore youth or undo the pesky physical characteristics and diseases that come with getting old? And are there lifestyle changes we may need to make to epigenetically improve our own health? Although we are far from [more…]

Natural Compound in Cypress Trees Might Epigenetically Protect Against Cancer

March 21, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A chemical in an essential oil extracted from tree bark might actually reduce cancer growth. Researchers are finding that hinokitiol, a compound found in some cypress trees, not only has anti-infective and anti-oxidative properties, but it might also impact the epigenetic tags on top of DNA and reactivate genes that fight against tumor growth. The epigenetic mechanism known as DNA methylation has been crucial to our understanding of cancer. Irregular methylation suppresses genes that work to reduce tumor growth, which [more…]

Can Epigenetics Explain the Mystery of Right and Left Handedness?

March 14, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Are you among the 90% of people who are right-handed or the 10% who are lefties? Have you ever wondered why you naturally favor a certain hand over the other? Now, researchers are suggesting that epigenetics could be the explanation. They are finding that handedness may not be dictated by the brain, as previously thought, but by the environment and epigenetic marks in the spinal cord. “These results fundamentally change our understanding of the cause of hemispheric asymmetries,” the authors concluded [more…]

Cut Out the Hype: Gene Editing With CRISPR and the Truth about Superhuman ‘Designer Babies’

February 28, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Stories about a mysterious tool that can cut out and replace genes have crept out from behind the lab walls and entered boldly into the public spotlight. Nowadays, CRISPR is everywhere. And we can’t help but let our imaginations wander, especially when the questions posed by this novel gene editing technology come straight out of a sci-fi movie. Can we edit out bad genes that cause diseases in humans and replace them with healthy ones? Might parents be able to [more…]

Air Pollution Could Alter Tags on DNA and Increase Risk for Neurodegenerative Disease

February 21, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Not only is air pollution a major environmental concern, but it poses major health issues. New research suggests that inhaling extremely small particles known as fine particulate matter could add epigenetic marks to DNA. This may potentially lead to stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive impairments and neurodevelopmental disorders. We’re certainly learning more about how our exposure to environmental toxins, especially pollution, affects the chemical tags that attach to our DNA and our health. Previous studies have linked traffic-related air [more…]

What You Eat Adjusts Your Gut Microbiota and Epigenetic Marks

February 14, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

We’ve long known that what we eat affects the microbes in our bodies. Right now, hundreds of different species of bacteria are churning in our stomachs, working to protect us as well as survive within us. New research is showing that the bacterial microbiota of the gut could place chemical tags on our DNA and influence gene expression, potentially impacting our health and many aspects of our lives. Researchers have found that these microbes send out metabolites that impact epigenetic [more…]

Easing Pain with the Power of Epigenetics

February 7, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Alleviating pain effectively is a common goal of modern medicine, and new research suggests that epigenetics might lead us closer to achieving this goal. People who suffer from serious pain, such as those who have experienced severe burns, may someday be able to epigenetically ease their discomfort and reduce neural activation caused by painful stimuli. “Seeking new pain markers continues to be very important in the field of nociception, which analyses the subjective experience of pain, and a need that [more…]

High Estrogen Levels Might Epigenetically Protect Women From a Traumatic Event

January 31, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Whether a woman’s estrogen level is high or low could determine if she may be susceptible to developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to recent research. Estrogen has been found to epigenetically change gene activity in the brain and could even protect a woman from emotional numbness, flashbacks, and difficulty sleeping – all symptoms of PTSD – after a shocking or traumatic situation. Researchers analyzed an epigenetic mark called DNA methylation, which is known to turn genes off. They used [more…]

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