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.

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…]

Smoking Cigarettes Stamps Harmful Epigenetic Fingerprint on DNA

November 8, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Not only does cigarette smoke severely harm the body, it also leaves behind long-lasting damage on DNA, according to a recent study. An unwanted surplus of chemical marks are added to specific spots on the genome of a smoker, which may give rise to diseases such as a cancer, cardiovascular and lung disorders, and osteoporosis. A group of international researchers conducted a large scale meta-analysis of genome-wide DNA methylation, pulling data from nearly 16,000 people. Around 15% of participants were [more…]

Epigenetic Mark Might Make Some People More Prone to Drug Addiction

May 3, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Why are some people more vulnerable to drug addiction than others? Why is it possible for a person to use a drug once and be able to put it down forever, whereas another person becomes hooked and cannot stay clean, no matter how hard they try? These questions are far from being completely understood, and the answers may lie in several different factors, including environmental, societal, and genetic. Yet, understanding the interplay among these factors is difficult, since they vary [more…]

Maternal Smoking Epigenetically Harms Child Development

April 26, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Thankfully, smoking is a habit all pregnant women are advised to break. But, surprisingly, this wasn’t always the case, especially in the 1940s and 1950s when doctors endorsed smoking in tobacco advertisements. Tobacco companies even ran ads hinting that pregnant women could smoke as a way to calm their nerves. With the influx of research on the harms of cigarettes, it now seems absurd to think they were ever recommended. A recent study in American Journal of Human Genetics links [more…]

Nicotine Could Cause Epigenetic Changes to Testes and Compromise Fertility

March 29, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Despite the countless destructive health consequences and carcinogenic properties of cigarette smoke, the CDC estimates that 40 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. The toxic chemicals are capable of causing damage to nearly every organ in the body and can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer. Researchers continue to add to the large body of evidence of the detrimental effects nicotine exposure has on cellular processes and our health. Now, they’re beginning [more…]

New Link Found Between DNA Methyltransferase and Antidepressants

December 15, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

In a new study, researchers have found that epigenetic effects can result from taking a popular antidepressant drug, which may help indicate whether or not a patient will respond positively to the drug. The research team, led by scientists in Germany from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, found a molecular pathway that changes global DNA methylation while in the presence of paroxetine, also referred to as Paxil, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed [more…]

HDAC Inhibitor Could Sharpen Memory and Treat Cancer

December 1, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New research has found that a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor drug used to treat cancer could also help sharpen memory and improve one’s ability to learn a new language. It could even help rewire the brain and sustain neurons which could be of benefit to those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Researchers from Rutgers published a study in the Journal of Neuroscience that investigated a cancer treatment drug, RGFP966, and found that it had other positive effects that were previously [more…]

Researchers Reveal Why Some Cancers Override HDAC Inhibitor Drugs

November 10, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

UK scientists from The University of Birmingham have discovered how certain cancer cells can adapt and render cancer drugs ineffective. These drugs, known as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, are designed to disrupt cancer cells’ genetic controls. Their research, published in Epigenetics and Chromatin, may help create new therapies focused on preventing tumors from overcoming HDAC inhibitors (HDACi). Genes can be switched on or off via molecular tags that attach to DNA and transfer signals to tell the cell how to [more…]

Epigenetic Study of Histone Modifications and DNA Damage Could Lead to New Cancer Treatments

October 13, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

DNA damage occurs frequently to cells as a result of normal cellular processes, but one of the worst genetic malfunctions that can occur is DNA double-strand breaks, or DSBs. This can lead to cancer and increased resistance to cancer therapy. New research from scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported their findings regarding histone modifications, the cause of DNA double-strand breaks, and possible ways they can be fixed. Their research was published in Nature Cell Biology. [more…]

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