Articles that explore the ways in which epigenetic drugs may be used to stave off cancer and other diseases. Additional articles cover topics related to drug abuse, rehab, and addiction.

Exercise May Offset Drinking’s Harmful Epigenetic Effect on the Brain

April 17, 2018 Natalie Crowley

Drinking alcohol on a regular basis, even in moderation, can cause damage to the brain. Physical activity, however, has been reported to protect cognitive function. So, could exercise counteract drinking’s harmful effects on the brain? In a recent study conducted at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, KY, a group of researchers decided to tackle this question by taking an epigenetic look at how alcohol and exercise affect the brain. Specifically, they looked at alcohol-induced epigenetic and [more…]

Epigenetic Bee Study Explains Why Cocaine is So Addictive

March 27, 2018 Natalie Crowley

Bees, like humans, have been known to act…well, buzzed when given cocaine. And just like us, they can also become addicted to it…even suffer from withdrawal symptoms when the drug is taken away. It’s this similarity in altered behavior to us that makes them a great model system to study when investigating the effects of cocaine use. As it just so happens, researchers from Norway and Australia recently conducted a study using honey bees to investigate cocaine dependency. Not the [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…]

A Glimmer of Hope in the Ugly Face of Addiction: Epigenetics May Help Prevent Relapse

October 24, 2017 Tim Barry

Addiction has become an epidemic that is sweeping not only the nation, but the whole world. Returning substance abusers develop an emotional connection to a situation, environment or people that are present at the time of first usage, which generally means that when they encounter a similar experience, they look to use again. Kicking an addiction and all its symptoms may be one of the hardest things that a human has to endure. Half the battle is stopping use of [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…]

Down a Path of Epigenetic Destruction: Smoking Cigarettes Adjusts Critical Marks on DNA

September 26, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

You can now add “harmful changes to your DNA” to the long list of reasons to quit smoking cigarettes, along with lung cancer, coronary heart disease, increased risk of death, stroke, chronic lung disease, decreased immune function, infertility, and the fact that smoking harms nearly every organ in the body. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center recently contributed to the growing evidence that demonstrates that smoking cigarettes – which contain a deadly cocktail of over 7,000 chemicals – [more…]

Recent Epigenetic Discovery Could Help Revitalize Immune Response to Cancer and Viruses

July 18, 2017 Tim Barry

A recent discovery out of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital finds an epigenetic cause to why T-cells fall ineffective in immune responses to cancer and viral infections.  T-cells, a type of cell produced by the thymus gland, are a critical combatant in the human immune system. Their main job is to fight foreign invaders such like viruses or cancers by detecting certain proteins on the surface of the intruder cell. Cancer cells often carry normal proteins which can trick the [more…]

Most Dangerous Lifestyle Activity Uncovered in New Epigenetic Mortality Risk Profile

March 28, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Aging and mortality has been a fascinating topic of interest recently, particularly in the field of epigenetics. What are the chemical DNA markers of age? Can we look at someone’s epigenome to determine their risk for death? Could we reverse these epigenetic tags to restore youth or undo the pesky physical characteristics and diseases that come with getting old? And are there lifestyle changes we may need to make to epigenetically improve our own health? Although we are far from [more…]

How Understanding an Individual’s Epigenetics Can Help Measure and Treat Addiction

January 3, 2017 WhatIsEpigenetics

For a long time humans have wondered if chemicals causing drug and alcohol addiction could be active in the genes and potentially passed on to the next generation. Although this was not scientifically proven until recent years, the fear of suffering from addictive diseases led children of addicts and former addicts to avoid alcohol and drugs completely. One of the scientific studies that give weight to this family history hypothesis on addiction was conducted at the Indiana University School of [more…]

Binge Drinking as a Teen May Epigenetically Harm the Health of Future Generations

December 6, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

not only harms your brain and body, but may also epigenetically impact your future children, a new study reports. Excessive drinking in adolescents could turn genes on or off in their offspring’s brain, setting them up for susceptibility to certain diseases. The study, presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting on Nov. 14, 2016, suggests that repeated episodes of excessive drinking when you’re young can actually put your future children at risk for developing disorders such as anxiety, depression, [more…]

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