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.

Vitamin D Adjusts Epigenetic Marks That Could Hinder A Baby’s Health

September 12, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Even though it’s common for expectant mothers to have low vitamin D levels, it’s essential to the health and proper development of the baby. A low amount of vitamin D is associated with poor fetal growth, childhood obesity, bone density, and bone mineral content. Interestingly, key functions of the placenta – like transporting nutrients to the growing baby – are controlled by the expression of genes, which is mediated by vitamin D. Researchers have now discovered that this vitamin might [more…]

Pregnant Moms’ Exposure to Pollution May Epigenetically Increase Child’s Asthma Susceptibility

August 22, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Exposure to environmental pollution, such as diesel exhaust or concentrated urban air particles, during pregnancy could increase a child’s risk of developing asthma via epigenetic mechanisms. Recent research in the Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology suggests that this allergic susceptibility might even be epigenetically passed down for several generations. Asthma forms as a result of the complex interaction between someone’s genes, epigenetic marks, and the environment. Epigenetics, the study of how chemical tags impact the expression [more…]

‘Magical’ Mushroom Could Fight off Cancer with Epigenetics

August 16, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A certain type of mushroom might epigenetically prevent tumor growth, according to a study published in the Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment. A medicinal mushroom, Phellinus linteus (PL), could come with “magical” anticancer properties. Researchers from New York Medical College found that histone deacetylase (HDAC) inactivation and histone acetylation led to the death of bladder cancer cells. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy often come with severe side effects, and for those suffering from bladder cancer, the use of these therapies is [more…]

Could We Use Epigenetics and Diet to Fix Binge Eating?

July 25, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Our eating habits can definitely be changed for the worse because of stress, but the reason for an uncontrollable bout of eating may not just be psychological. An underlying epigenetic influence was recently discovered to play a role in binge eating. A new mice study published in Cell Metabolism suggests that a mother’s stress level when she’s pregnant could make her female offspring more likely to engage in binge eating when they grow up. Interestingly, it was also found that [more…]

The Epigenetics Behind Unique Human Faces

July 11, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Here’s a strange question many people probably have not given much thought to: why are our faces shaped the way they are? We know that no two faces are perfectly alike, but why exactly might one person have a long nose and another a small forehead? How is it that our earlobes are attached to our ears and not our chins? Researchers from Switzerland and France have wondered this, and published a study in Science that suggests epigenetics might be [more…]

Excess Stress Changes Marks on DNA and Could Epigenetically Harm Mental Health

July 5, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

An excess amount of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body could impact epigenetic processes and boost one’s risk of experiencing psychological issues in the long run, reports a new study in Scientific Reports. People with anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression and other stress-related disorders could be adjusting chemical tags on their DNA as a result of high cortisol exposure, which may even persist throughout the course of their lives or be passed on to their children. The study assessed individuals [more…]

Epigenetic Profile at Birth Could Predict Behavior Problems Later in Life

June 20, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Marks on a baby’s DNA might be able to predict whether he or she may develop conduct problems later in life, suggests new research published in Development and Psychopathology. Conduct problems — such as lying, stealing, and fighting — fit into a spectrum of behavioral and emotional issues found in youngsters in which basic social rules or the rights of others are violated. These behaviors are known to have a link to genetic factors and environmental influences. Now, there may [more…]

Can Tai Chi Boost Your Health Through Epigenetics?

June 13, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Cloud hands, single whip, white crane spreads wings – you’ve probably never heard of these terms unless you practice tai chi, an ancient Chinese tradition that focuses on “meditation in motion.” Tai chi in modern form reduces stress and anxiety as well as improves balance and strength all through special movements often named after animals, combined with deep breathing, relaxation techniques, and a tranquil state of mind. Tai chi has great depth and history, but is easy to learn for [more…]

Drinking Tea Can Turn Genes On or Off in Women

June 6, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Green, black, white, oolong, and rooibos – these are all types of tea many of us have enjoyed for their power to soothe or energize. But did you know that sipping on some tea could lead to epigenetic changes in your genes, especially in those linked to cancer? A recent study supports the notion that tea might be a key player in modulating a person’s disease risk by decreasing inflammation, suppressing the growth of tumors, and influencing estrogen metabolism – [more…]

B Vitamins Protect Against Harmful Epigenetic Effects of Air Pollution

May 30, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Air pollution has a negative impact on our health and can also adjust important chemical tags on our DNA. Aside from taking steps to reduce pollution in our communities, a new study suggests that we can take B vitamins to combat the harmful effects on our bodies. Particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, or 3% of the diameter of human hair, is known as PM2.5. These fine particles have been shown to wreak epigenetic havoc on our [more…]

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