Articles that explore the connection between epigenetics and diseases and disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and more.

Epigenetics Explains Increased Drug Resistance in Malaria Parasite

March 18, 2019 Natalie Crowley

Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal disease that is caused by a single-cell parasite and transferred to humans by the bite of a mosquito. Each year, millions of cases of the illness are reported, predominantly in young children and pregnant women from the sub-Saharan African region. Although deadly, malaria is preventable and treatable if tackled early enough. However, one hindering issue persists – drug resistance. In recent years, it has become a significant hurdle in the global effort to eradicate [more…]

Mouse Study Verifies Gene’s Role in Autism Via Epigenetics

March 12, 2019 Natalie Crowley

More families are living with autism today than ever before. It’s a common diagnosis with a prevalence of 1 in 59 children in the US. Despite all the efforts to understand this condition, there is still no known cause. The consensus among researchers is that autism is predominantly genetic with a few environmental factors involved. However, determining a heritable link here is complex since any number of genotypic variations could underlie autism. To better pinpoint genes that may contribute to [more…]

High Fat Diet in Fruit Flies Links Epigenetics to Inherited Heart Disease

March 5, 2019 Tim Barry

In the United States, obesity has become an epidemic that has been sweeping the nation for quite some time. Poor dietary habits have become far too customary among the American people, so it is no surprise that obesity rates are extremely high. Obesity presents a person with numerous adverse health effects that can shorten life expectancy like hypertension, diabetes, and perhaps most importantly, heart disease. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in both men and women in [more…]

Intended Epigenetic Drug Has Opposite Effect for Lung Cancer

February 26, 2019 WhatIsEpigenetics

Cancer is a complex disease influenced by numerous factors including genetic make-up, lifestyle, and the environment. Over the years, the growing field of epigenetics has greatly contributed to our understanding of cancer and tumor progression. It has also led to the development of novel drug therapies. Yet, despite the fact that epigenetic regulators have become attractive anticancer targets, many scientists believe that extra caution should be taken when assessing their overall effects. In a new study, one potential epigenetic therapy [more…]

Circadian Rhythms, Epigenetics and Disease

February 12, 2019 Janeth Santiago Rios

Epigenetics has many connections to our cellular processes. It regulates the expression of our genes, so it wouldn’t surprise us that epigenetics is involved in the regulation of our circadian rhythms as well. But what exactly are these circadian rhythms and how can they be involved in certain processes of health and disease? What are circadian rhythms? Circadian rhythms are biological processes which govern not only our sleep-wake cycle, but also a wide variety of physiological functions, such as hormone release, feeding habits [more…]

Epigenetic Test Beats Pap & HPV for Detecting Cervical Cancer

February 5, 2019 Natalie Crowley

Cervical cancer used to be the number one cause of death in women about a hundred years ago. But thanks to advancements in medical science, this disease is almost preventable today. However, cervical cancer (CC) still claims the lives of over 4,000 women each year in the US. While Pap and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing have significantly contributed to the lower mortality rates, there are still certain types of CC that are not easily detected. Now, a new technique has [more…]

The Epigenetics of Chronic Kidney Disease

January 15, 2019 Adam Alonzi

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 20 million people in the United States and an estimated 8 to 16 percent of the world’s population. It is known that anomalous DNA methylation, aberrant histone alterations, and changes to microRNA expression all contribute to its pathogenesis. These epigenetic factors are crucial to the development and proper functioning of the kidneys. The manner and extent to which these factors modulate inflammation, fibrosis, and the transition of mesenchymal to epithelial cells is still being elucidated. The [more…]

DNA Methylation Study Provides Insight for Treating Brain Cancer

December 11, 2018 Tim Barry

Receiving the diagnosis of a brain cancer is undoubtedly disastrous news that nobody wants to hear for themselves or their loved ones. Although significant advances have been made to understand and treat many cancers, the mortality rate remains high for cancers of the brain.  New research, however, may be shedding light on one form of brain cancer by investigating the epigenetic character of the disease. Glioblastoma is the most common and deadliest type of brain cancer in adults. It’s considered [more…]

Epigenetic Insights on Nutrition, Hormones and Eating Behavior

December 4, 2018 Janeth Santiago Rios

It is widely acknowledged that alterations of the intrauterine and early postnatal nutritional and hormonal environment can make individuals more susceptible to the development of diseases in later life, a phenomenon clearly explained by epigenetics. We know that what the mother eats during pregnancy can increase the risk of the baby becoming obese as an adult, among other several health disorders. However, the link between these two is much more complex than we thought, as epidemiological and animal studies have [more…]

Depression Could Severely Increase Epigenetic Aging

November 27, 2018 Tim Barry

Depression can certainly take its toll on a variety of physical and mental processes, so it’s no surprise that major depression often coincides with a shortened lifespan. Now scientists are finding that there may be more to this link than just purely an unfortunate coincidence. According to a new study, major depression disorder (MDD) may actually speed up the aging process on a molecular level and the results illuminate a significant epigenetic mechanism. MDD is a very common mental disorder [more…]

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