Sunshine and Epigenetics: Altering Histone Variant H2A.Z Turnover and Gene Expression in Rice Seedlings

March 7, 2017 Sadman Sakib

Have you ever thought of how the day-night cycle can epigenetically affect plants? Latest research from Zhang et al. has shown a possible mechanism of how histone variants can negatively regulate gene expression in day-night cycles of rice seedling tissues. This paves a way for an exciting area of research of how histone variants can be differentially deposited in a very short time span, in order to fine tune the transcription due to the environmental stimuli in plants. Histones variants, [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 Fat, Low Carb Diet Might Epigenetically Open Up DNA and Improve Mental Ability

January 24, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Could eating less carbohydrates and more fat relax DNA and boost mental function? Researchers found that a ketogenic diet – consuming high amounts of fat, adequate protein, and low carbohydrates – increases an epigenetic agent naturally produced by the body. This, in turn, may improve memory defects and bolster the growth and development of nervous tissue. In a study published in PNAS, researchers looked at mice with a genetic alteration similar to one found in humans who suffer from a [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…]

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…]

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…]

Dad’s Life Experiences May Epigenetically Influence His Children’s Health

May 31, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Mothers have often – unfortunately and unfairly – had to carry the burden of being “to blame” for any of their child’s health-related shortcomings. When pregnant women are advised: eat more of this but not too much of that, drink this but definitely none of that… why does dad get off scot-free amid these typically well-intentioned suggestions? Previous studies have, for example, epigenetically linked dad’s drinking to his son’s sensitivity and preference for alcohol and connected a father’s diet to [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…]

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