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…]

Could a New Epigenetic Blood Test Predict Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

May 17, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Diabetes is a disease characterized by the body’s inability to properly use insulin and it affects over 29 million Americans. With new epigenetic research, however, the disease may be mitigated with a simple blood test that offers early knowledge and the possibility for pre-emptive lifestyle management. Lund University researchers in Sweden published their study in Nature Communications, in which they discovered a novel biomarker to predict a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By using a blood test to [more…]

Children of Diabetic Moms May Benefit from the Epigenetic Power of Green Tea

April 19, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

If a mother with diabetes drinks green tea during pregnancy, could it improve her child’s development? For years, pregnant women have been advised to take probiotics and antioxidants, such as folic acid, to help improve pregnancy outcomes. However, the precise way these supplements work continues to be up for debate. Now, epigenetic evidence is mounting in regard to the benefits of certain antioxidants and the potential underlying biological mechanisms. New research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology [more…]

Epigenetics: Feeding the Obesity and Diabetes Epidemic?

March 21, 2016 Bill Sullivan

Every kid reaching for the junk food has heard mom and dad’s warning, “You are what you eat!” But parents should be advised that children can now offer a humbling retort, “No, I’m what YOU ate!” A new study by scientists from the Institute of Experimental Genetics at Helmholtz Zentrum München (Neuherberg, Germany) suggests that the metabolic consequences of mom and dad’s dietary habits can be inherited by their kids via epigenetic mechanisms. So in addition to inheriting a genetic [more…]

Mitochondrial DNA Methylation Gives Clues to Insulin Response in Pre-Diabetics

September 1, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

What if those who are resistant to insulin but don’t have diabetes could help prevent themselves and others from developing the disease? Researchers from Virginia Tech have discovered a biomarker in those who are pre-diabetic that could prevent them and potentially others from getting type 2 diabetes. The researchers uncovered that pre-diabetics, or people who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, who do not respond to insulin had altered DNA in their mitochondria and had an increased [more…]

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Epigenetics

April 7, 2015 Mary Vagula

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a polygenic metabolic disease characterized by elevated blood sugar levels due to pancreatic beta-cell functional impairment and insulin resistance in tissues such as skeletal muscle, adipose tissue and the liver (1). Millions of people around the globe are diagnosed with diabetes, and its incidence is estimated to double by 2030. It has become one of the most challenging public health issues of 21st century and the fifth leading cause of death worldwide (2). The [more…]

Epigenetic Transfer of Nutrition ‘Memory’ Ends before Great-Grandchildren

July 17, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A child is at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and obesity if his or her mother was undernourished during pregnancy. This risk is caused in part by epigenetic changes thought to persist through generations, but it’s uncertain at which generation these changes stop affecting offspring. Researchers at University of Cambridge give us insight into the temporality of this epigenetic “memory” of nutrition using a mouse model and demonstrate its persistence in mice sperm. In a study published [more…]