Mapping the Epigenome for Pain Relief

October 12, 2021 Natalie Crowley

There are a lot of medications and techniques available for relieving pain today, but getting the right ones that work best for a patient is still challenging. First and foremost, a physician needs an accurate description of the pain to help treat it. However, communicating the location and intensity of pain isn’t that straightforward for many patients, even when asked detailed questions. That’s because pain symptoms are unique to each person and subjective. What may be considered unbearable to one [more…]

How Inflammation Epigenetically Primes Epithelial Cells to Promote Pancreatic Cancer 

September 28, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Pancreatic cancer may not be as common as some cancers, but it has a bad reputation for being highly fatal, especially since it’s difficult to detect early. Smoking, diabetes, family history, and alcohol abuse are among the top risk factors associated with this disease. While it’s difficult to determine the exact causes of pancreatic cancer, a key mediator in its development is inflammation. Understanding why inflammation might lead to tumor growth in the pancreas has scientists examining the underlying mechanisms [more…]

Exercise Training Epigenetically Benefits Overall Health

September 14, 2021 Natalie Crowley

There’s no question that exercise is good for you, not only for developing a great physique but for overall health. Some would even say that regular exercise, combined with proper nutrition, is better at preventing and treating certain diseases than many pharmacological interventions. Even so, medical experts are still trying to determine exactly how physical fitness affects the chemical make-up of the body, especially regarding how it reduces the risks of developing chronic illnesses like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and [more…]

Predicting Schizophrenia Risk Based on Epigenetics

August 31, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Schizophrenia is a complex and severe mental illness that affects approximately 1% of the global population. Often misdiagnosed for symptoms similar to other cognitive disorders, this condition lacks a valid biochemical laboratory test to support its clinical diagnosis. Studies have shown that schizophrenia has both genetic and environmental components, suggesting that epigenetic dysregulation is likely an important contributor to its etiology. Thus, developing a diagnostic tool that can identify these abnormal epigenetic modifications could help detect the disease properly and [more…]

A Stimulating Environment May Prevent The Brain From Epigenetically Aging

August 17, 2021 Natalie Crowley

One unfortunate side effect of aging is loss of brain function. For most people, it starts off here and there with some “forgetfulness” or a modest decline in other thinking skills. But brain loss can be progressive as we age and lead to more problematic conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. One possible key to maintaining brain functioning and staying sharp-minded could be as simple as living a varied and active life. While this notion isn’t new, current research is [more…]

Epigenetic Alteration Linked To Lung Cancer Relapse

August 3, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Chemotherapy has been the mainstay for lung cancer treatment for decades. Unfortunately, even after an initial positive response to it, tumors can sometimes develop drug resistance. When this happens, there is little doctors can do to improve a patient’s outcome, as the survival rate after relapse can be devastatingly low. Understanding exactly what causes this cancer to rebound has scientists taking a closer look at the genetic diversity of lung tumors, in particular their epigenetic signature. In recent years, genomic [more…]

Scientists Study How Selective Mating in Nematodes Can Result in Permanent Epigenetic Changes

July 20, 2021 Natalie Crowley

If the study of epigenetics has taught us anything, it’s that we can no longer blame our entire biological inheritance solely on our DNA. Part of that blame can be traced back to the environment that our parents or grandparents were exposed to during their lifetime. Alterations in their epigenetic profile that resulted from these exposures have the potential to be passed on to descendants. Researchers call this phenomenon epigenetic heredity, and it explains how certain stimuli such as diet, toxins, [more…]

Different Food Groups Can Impact Blood Pressure Through Epigenetics

July 6, 2021 Vered Smith

The risk of a person living in an industrialized country developing high blood pressure during their life is over 90% [1]. Left uncontrolled for a long time, high blood pressure together with conditions like obesity, diabetes, and excess lipid (hyperlipidemia) can generate serious illnesses like heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, dementia, and early death [1]. Despite available and effective medicine, most patients with high blood pressure – or hypertension, as it’s known scientifically – cannot heal it. This is somewhat [more…]

Epigenetic Mechanisms May Help Plants Remember and Adapt to Hot Weather

June 22, 2021 Tim Barry

Global warming is an ever-growing threat to ecosystems all over the world. Temperatures are continually rising, and weather patterns have become more irregular and aggressive—making it difficult for all organisms to survive. Plants are an essential part of our ecosystem, and their survival can benefit from the rising CO2 levels, but severely high temperatures present a larger problem. Since plants can’t adjust to their climates by getting up and moving around, they must internally regulate their response to heat. Remembering [more…]

Epigenetic Factors Determine the Characteristics of B-Cells

June 8, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Most people know antibodies as the “warriors” of our immune system, helping us fight off invading pathogens. But not all antibodies are made for this purpose. Some perform necessary maintenance functions, such as clearing the blood of wastes like oxidized LDL cholesterol. These, too, are just as vital for keeping us safe and healthy. Understanding how we acquire antibodies of any type is of interest to scientists because irregularities in our ability to produce them could lead to disease development. [more…]

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