Aging is a normal process linked to specific patterns and changes in the epigenome, particularly DNA methylation. Harnessing epigenetic mechanisms and understanding the epigenetic clock might enable us to slow or reduce human aging in the future, especially as scientific research reveals new associations and insights.
After DNA methylation patterns have been established during embryogenesis, researchers investigate how they are maintained, and how the environment can influence changes to marks on top of DNA during one’s lifespan.
The number of children diagnosed with asthma and allergies has risen tremendously in the last few decades, partly because of higher awareness. But the jury is still out on determining what exactly is driving this increase. Rapid changes in the environment and lifestyles factors may be to blame, yet much remains to be learned about the etiology of both these ailments. To further our understanding, scientists have been investigating the role of epigenetics to determine which biological mechanisms play a role [more…]
As we get older, our bodies begin to wear out and lose the ability to function as well as they once did. We start to ache for no reason, our hearing isn’t as adequate as it once was, and we become forgetful. Eyesight is usually one of the first casualties of aging. While most people will experience a deficiency in near focusing or presbyopia as they age, a common cause of gradual vision loss can be attributed to a disorder [more…]
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…]
The formation of memories has been a popular research topic among the science community. They occur by a familiar stimulus reactivating a specific group of neurons, but not much else is known about the exact logistics involved in how a memory is created and retained. Many memory-related disorders like Alzheimer’s and PTSD directly affect a person’s brain chemistry and are undoubtedly detrimental to their character and mental health. In a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from the [more…]
Throughout our lives, all cells in our bodies experience a normal life cycle of growth, maturity, and death. During this time, our cells normally experience damage to DNA by normal functions of the metabolism, or exposure to certain environmental factors like UV light. Ordinarily, our body is able to repair the damage done to the DNA in order to restore healthy cell function. The older we get, the more DNA damage we experience, and if damaged DNA is unable to [more…]
Fascinating new research out of Drexel University suggests that restoring balance to certain epigenetic enzymes might reinstate memory and lead us closer to a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. This devastating type of dementia causes issues with memory, cognition, and behavior. Could epigenetics help reverse symptoms and bring back cognitive abilities in those with Alzheimer’s? The symptoms usually appear gradually and worsen over time, such as memory loss, difficulty planning or solving problems, and confusion with time or place. According [more…]
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a complex neurodegenerative disease that occurs due to an accumulation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. It affects over 5 million Americans of all ages, particularly those over 65 years of age and is one of the leading causes of death in the US. Currently, there are no sure ways to cure, prevent or even slow down progression of the disease. It is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and [more…]
Pinpointing factors that make a person unique could shift the entire landscape of how we attend to our health – from exercise plans to custom diets and even skincare regimens. The concept of personalization has pierced the bubble of the prevailing “one size fits all” mentality, deflating the flawed notion that what works for the majority will likely work for anyone. When it comes to our bodies’ largest organ, and caring for it effectively, epigenetics may provide an answer. Our [more…]
We might say a beautiful woman is born with her looks or that she was endowed with good genes. But what if some of her beauty comes from reversible marks on top of her genes? The epigenetic tags on her DNA might be contributing to her glowing skin, young complexion, and silken hair. Interestingly, there may even be ways in which simple lifestyle changes could adjust these epigenetic tags, modulating the expression of certain genes that promote beauty and health. [more…]
Nearly a century ago, researchers discovered that cutting calorie intake was actually able to extend lifespan in various animal species. Although numerous studies have been conducted since to find out exactly why reducing calories can extend lifespan, scientists have been unable to pinpoint the answer. Now, a group of investigators at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) have uncovered an explanation to the longevity conundrum, something they call “age-related methylation drift.” The senior investigator, Jean-Pierre Issa, [more…]