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 An Infection Alter Your Epigenome?

May 5, 2015 Bill Sullivan

There are many examples of infectious agents that are capable of modifying the behavior of their host organism. Pathogens typically co-opt their host in ways that create an opportunity to spread into another host. For example, the rabies virus is transmitted through saliva, so the virus transforms its host into an unusually aggressive beast that is prone to bite other animals. The single-celled parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii is another clever puppeteer of its host. Rodents infected with this microbe [more…]

How Eating Zinc Could Affect DNA Methylation and the Immune System

April 28, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Zinc is a mineral that’s vital to our health and is involved in several aspects of cellular metabolism. According to the National Institutes of Health, zinc plays a role in a wide range of important processes like healing wounds, synthesizing proteins and DNA, and the division of cells. It’s even required to be able to taste and smell properly. Published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, recent evidence conducted at the Oregon State University also suggests that zinc affects the [more…]

Could Epigenetics Explain the Origins of Allergic Disease?

March 24, 2015 Natalie Crowley

Finally, spring is here – that wonderful time of year when the temperature starts to rise and everything is in bloom. But for many of us, it also marks the beginning of allergy season. That means itchy watery eyes, sneezing, running nose, coughing and overall misery. But allergies don’t just affect people in the spring and they are not all related to weather. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1), more than 50 million Americans have an allergy [more…]

The Epigenetics of Sleep: 3 Reasons to Catch More Zzz’s

March 3, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Although the mysteries surrounding sleep are still being uncovered by scientists, we do know that sleep is crucial to our daytime functioning and is vital for processes such as learning and consolidation of memories. Unfortunately, we often fail to get enough sleep even when we know how important it is. Trying to compensate for poor sleep by sleeping more on the weekends or drinking stimulants like coffee just to stay awake can actually end up doing more harm than good. [more…]

Epigenetic Study Finds New Potential Drug Targets for Asthma and Allergies

February 24, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A new epigenetic study has identified 30 genes connected to allergies and asthma that make people more susceptible to these conditions. Using the newly discovered gene targets from this study, scientists could potentially create drugs to combat allergic diseases and reduce allergic responses. About 6.8 million children and 18.7 million adults in the U.S. suffer from asthma. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 60 million people suffer from both asthma and allergies, affecting 1 out of every [more…]