Bailey Kirkpatrick
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 barrel-aged sour beer or cold-brewed coffee.

Muscles ‘Remember’ Previous Exercise in the Form of Epigenetic Tags on DNA

February 13, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Our muscles may actually possess a molecular memory in the form of epigenetic marks on our DNA. According to a study published in Scientific Reports, these chemical tags tell a tale of when skeletal muscles grew after exercise and could possibly help them grow bigger later on. Although you might think that month-long resistance training class that you’ve been meaning to sign up for again was all for naught, your muscles might actually remember it. Even if taking an exercise [more…]

Natural Compounds in Grapes Could Lead Us to An Epigenetic Treatment for Depression

February 6, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Recent research suggests that our diet and lifestyle can change the expression of our genes. This occurs by adjusting epigenetic marks on top of our DNA without actually making any changes to the underlying genetic sequence. For example, blueberries were found to epigenetically reduce DNA damage and drinking green tea may turn some genes on or off in women. In a new epigenetic study published in Nature Communications, researchers from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have identified two [more…]

Epigenetic Marks on Histones Keep Egg Cells Fresh

January 9, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Egg cells, or oocytes, are made inside a female’s body before she is even born and they must be kept in a state of equilibrium or stasis during her childhood. Eventually, they can transition to mature eggs when needed as an adult. If the eggs do not go into stasis, however, they will never be able to eventually form into a baby. New research in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology explores the influence of epigenetics on egg cell stasis and [more…]

Bipolar Disorder Linked to Accelerated Epigenetic Aging

January 2, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Bipolar disorder affects nearly 6 million Americans and is characterized by drastic shifts in mood, activity levels, and energy, which influences an individual’s ability to carry out daily tasks. It’s a dangerously misunderstood disease and can be easily misdiagnosed. The extreme adjustments in mood – known as mania and depression – are more severe than the typical ups and downs that many people experience. Researchers are finding that something called premature epigenetic aging might play a role in this disease [more…]

Epigenetic Marks on a Stress-Related Gene Linked to Suicide Risk

December 26, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Many people consider suicide to be taboo, and it’s a subject that is often avoided. However, the more we understand the reasoning behind why some people are pressed to commit suicide, the better equipped we may be to offer support and guidance for treatment. Interestingly, certain lifestyles and various environmental factors might be able to influence a specific gene linked to stress, which could increase suicide risk in adults and even adolescents. In a new study, researchers from Uppsala University, [more…]

Cuddling Can Leave Positive Epigenetic Traces on Your Baby’s DNA

December 12, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

You might be familiar with the popular epigenetic study that suggests when mother rats lick their pups, they leave epigenetic marks on their babies’ DNA. This, in turn, helps them grow up to be calm adults. On the other hand, pups who receive very little licking, grooming, or nursing from their moms tend to grow up more anxious. It wasn’t their genes that dictated their stressed-out behavior, but their epigenome, which was shaped by the nurturing behavior of their mother [more…]

The Epigenetic Health Benefits of Blueberries

November 7, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Although blueberries are tiny, they’re more powerful than you might think. Touted for their high nutrient content – including fiber, vitamin C and K, and manganese – these little blue fruits may be able to adjust chemical marks on DNA and influence our health. Blueberries are incredibly high in antioxidants and it’s thought that this “superfood” can epigenetically reduce DNA damage, thereby protecting humans against aging and cancer. Examples of epigenetics in food include the ability of green tea to [more…]

Epigenetic Drugs That Fight Cancer Also Show Promise as Antivirals

October 31, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Epigenetic drugs designed to fight cancer might actually be used against many viruses as well. A recent study published in the American Society for Microbiology shows that some pharmaceuticals that act epigenetically have the power to be used as broad spectrum antivirals. Specifically, the researchers looked at histone methyltransferases EZH2/1 inhibitors which can help fight against cancer. Numerous DNA viruses, such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), are involved in epigenetic regulation which determines productive infection, persistence, and latency. Modulation to [more…]

Could Drinking Alcohol Epigenetically Hamper Your Ability to Process Cholesterol?

October 17, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Johns Hopkins Medicine worked together to analyze human and mouse epigenomes and discovered that drinking alcohol could lead to epigenetic changes that influence a particular gene’s ability to regulate cholesterol. The results suggest an underlying epigenetic mechanism known as DNA methylation could explain why someone’s body processes cholesterol differently depending on their drinking habits. It also offers unique insight into the effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs which are commonly used to reduce [more…]

Father’s Exposure to Phthalates Impact Epigenetic Marks on Sperm DNA

October 10, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New epigenetic research conducted by scientists at the University of Massachusetts suggests that a father’s environment can affect the health of his baby via epigenetic marks in his sperm. Specifically, male exposure to phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors found in plastics, personal care products like shaving cream, and in the environment that surrounds us, were found to have an impact on a couples’ success when having children. Led by Richard Pilsner, an environmental health scientist, this ongoing study supported by [more…]

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