Articles that explore the connection between epigenetics and diseases and disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and more.
Betaine is a methyl-donor nutrient that can be obtained through the diet and is especially rich in spinach, beets, and whole-wheat foods. Alternatively, betaine can be synthesized from choline obtained through other dietary sources. Methyl donor nutrients provide precursors for methyl groups used in important biological processes including methyltransferase enzymes which regulate DNA methylation. There is currently great interest in better understanding how dietary methyl donors can effect epigenetics, and whether changes in DNA methylation can be carried from generation [more…]
Disclaimer: One of the reference papers has not yet been peer-reviewed. The COVID-19 pandemic spread around the globe in a matter of months, leaving devastating human health and economic consequences in its wake. From a viral point of view, this incredible success is the result of a careful balance between its deadliness and contagiousness. While the number of deaths is nearing the 300,000 mark as of May 2020, many who are infected show only mild symptoms or no symptoms at [more…]
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the annual figure for preterm births is 15 million babies, which is somewhere in between 5% and 10% of all births worldwide. These babies are born before 37 weeks’ gestation, and are known to be at higher risk for health complications at birth that include: respiratory issues, eye problems, and even neurodevelopmental disorders. But what are the specific molecular mechanisms that drive these health problems? After all, once born, premature babies are given [more…]
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an increasingly alarming health problem in the United States where it is estimated that up to 30% of the population has a fatty liver. Approximately 10% of NAFLD patients will progress in disease severity leading to inflammation and fibrosis and eventually more serious consequences such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. Better understanding the molecular and epigenetic changes in the liver driving disease progression could lead to better treatments. Understanding how DNA methylation is altered [more…]
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 47 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s. But since it can take 20 years for brain changes to accumulate into the symptoms that lead to diagnosis, effective intervention can be difficult. Even diagnosis itself poses a challenge, with only one out of every four people suffering from Alzheimer’s actually receiving a diagnosis. This is why scientists have been looking to find anything they can leverage to help pinpoint which patients are more likely to have [more…]
An individual’s DNA contains the sequence of nucleotide bases that provide instructions for how every cell in their body is to develop and differentiate. When DNA is read, its instructions are followed to guide the development of cells, allowing genes to be “expressed”. Scientists are actively working to map out the cellular signaling pathways that determine how DNA is differentially expressed, as well as the things that could go wrong, which could ultimately end up in disease. But there’s an added [more…]
A scientific look at how certain compounds in foods might epigenetically impact target sites to hinder viral infection by SARS-CoV-2, based on published literature.
As COVID-19 is proving to the world, viruses are powerful biological agents, capable of rapidly effecting massive damage and fatality. And yet, they’re so simple: a virus is merely comprised of pieces of genetic material—either RNA or DNA—wrapped in a protein envelope, which is known as a “capsid.” But coronaviruses are not the only type of virus out there, nor the only one capable of heavy destruction. Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) was officially discovered in 2001, although evidence points to its [more…]
Emerging viral infections pose a major threat to global public health. In the last two decades, the world has dealt with several fatal outbreaks from the Swine Flu to Ebola to Zika infections and more. The latest to appear is COVID-19, which emerged in December in Wuhan, China and spread quickly around the globe. Although this disease is new, the virus itself is not entirely unknown. It’s actually a type of coronavirus (CoV) –one that is similar to SARS-CoV and [more…]
Data from the Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN) shows that colorectal cancer is the third most lethal cancer in the world. Millions of new cases are diagnosed each year, with a trend that is steadily increasing—and this growth is fastest in countries where the “western diet” is prevalent. Lifestyle factors seem to contribute to some extent. Researchers are scrambling to make sense of exactly how. In fact, a subtype of colorectal cancer is known as sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC) occurs in [more…]