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…]

Introducing WERAM: Find Integrated Info on Your Histone Regulator in Your Favorite Species

January 5, 2017 Blanca Valle

Recently Dr. Yu Xue’s group, at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, developed a database designated as Eukaryotic Writers, Erasers and Readers protein of Histone Acetylation and Methylation system Database (WERAM). WERAM is a comprehensive database containing integrated information on the writers, erasers, and readers of histone acetylation and methylation. Namely writers are the enzymes that catalyze acetylation and methylation, the erasers are the enzymes that remove these marks, and the readers are proteins that recognize and interact [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…]

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…]

Can Your Age Influence the Epigenetic Effects of Exercise?

September 27, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

We all know the extensive benefits of exercise: work out to stave off disease, improve mental acuity, lose weight, reduce stress, and so on. But even with all these benefits, there are still some questions surrounding the molecular causes that underlie them. Epigenetics has been particularly helpful in gaining new insights into the wide range of health benefits of exercise. Recently, a study showed that exercise could epigenetically keep the brain healthy by boosting the production of a protein called [more…]

Could Poor Sleep and Histone Modification Degrade Your Memory?

August 30, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Impaired sleep is a common issue that plagues many people. Not getting enough rest can lead to moodiness, cognitive decline, increased anxiety, and difficulty concentrating or remembering things. It’s estimated that 50-70 million adults in the US have sleep or wakefulness disorder, according to the CDC. But, for something so crucial to our lives, sleep is still shrouded in mystery. Interestingly, previous research has uncovered a link between sleep disorders and memory. Other studies have even shown that short-term sleep [more…]

Histone variant H2A.Z underlies inactivation of activity-dependent gene expression in learned behavior

August 23, 2016 Caitlin Aamodt

Over the past decade discoveries about the role of epigenetic mechanisms in learning and memory have changed the way scientists think about cognition 1. The most well characterized to date are histone acetylation and DNA methylation, but more recently discovered epigenetic mechanisms are continuing to shape researchers’ understandings of transcriptional regulation in post-mitotic neurons. Chromatin is made up of nucleosomes, which are 147 base pairs of DNA wrapped around a histone octomer. The canonical histones that organize DNA at the [more…]

Air Pollution Found to Alter Important Epigenetic Mark

June 14, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Air pollution is not only a significant threat to our environment, but also to our health. Ranging from vehicles to industrial facilities, common sources of air pollution are all around us. These pollutants are linked to serious health issues, such as respiratory disease, impaired lung function, asthma, cancer, chronic bronchitis, and increased morbidity. According to the WHO, outdoor air pollution was estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide in 2012. It’s most abundant in urban areas in Southeast Asia [more…]

Could Common Chemicals Tip the Epigenetic Balance and Program Someone for Obesity?

May 24, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

We’ve all heard of the risks of the BPA, or Bisphenol A, a chemical used to make durable plastics. BPA can be found in baby bottles, toys, water bottles, and the lining of food cans, but it has also leached into the water and air, travelling around the world. Research has shown this endocrine disruptor can cause adverse health effects during development and impact the reproductive system by mimicking estrogen, binding to nuclear estrogen receptors and even androgen receptors. It [more…]

Could Broccoli Epigenetically Reduce Your Cancer Risk?

March 15, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

We’ve often heard that certain foods might have the power to reduce our risk of disease. There’s Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a major polyphenol found in green tea, that may help prevent tumor growth, or DHA, one of the major omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts, that could protect neurons and perhaps lower the chances of developing a neurodegenerative disease. Now, even more evidence suggests that cruciferous vegetables may be able to slow the cell growth of one of [more…]

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