Vitamin D Adjusts Epigenetic Marks That Could Hinder A Baby’s Health

September 12, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Even though it’s common for expectant mothers to have low vitamin D levels, it’s essential to the health and proper development of the baby. A low amount of vitamin D is associated with poor fetal growth, childhood obesity, bone density, and bone mineral content. Interestingly, key functions of the placenta – like transporting nutrients to the growing baby – are controlled by the expression of genes, which is mediated by vitamin D. Researchers have now discovered that this vitamin might [more…]

An Unlikely Savior: Vinegar Might Epigenetically Protect Plants From Drought

September 5, 2017 Tim Barry

Climate change is undoubtedly one of the greatest threats facing both plants and animals alike. With rising temperatures and irregular weather patterns, droughts have become a far too normal occurrence worldwide. These harsh conditions have proven to be difficult on the survival of agriculture, and scientists all over the world have been searching for a solution to this problem. As genetic engineering becomes more and more developed, scientists have turned to the possibility of editing the genomes of plants to [more…]

Blocking a Specific Epigenetic Enzyme Could Prevent Diabetic-Related Heart Failure

August 29, 2017 Natalie Crowley

Heart disease has been singled out as the leading cause of death among people with diabetes. It’s estimated that 68 percent of diabetics age 65 or older will die from some form of cardiovascular disease. Coronary atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is the most prevalent of these diseases, but there is another very common heart condition specific to diabetes that has been getting more attention in recent years. It’s called diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) and it’s independent of coronary artery [more…]

Pregnant Moms’ Exposure to Pollution May Epigenetically Increase Child’s Asthma Susceptibility

August 22, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Exposure to environmental pollution, such as diesel exhaust or concentrated urban air particles, during pregnancy could increase a child’s risk of developing asthma via epigenetic mechanisms. Recent research in the Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology suggests that this allergic susceptibility might even be epigenetically passed down for several generations. Asthma forms as a result of the complex interaction between someone’s genes, epigenetic marks, and the environment. Epigenetics, the study of how chemical tags impact the expression [more…]

‘Magical’ Mushroom Could Fight off Cancer with Epigenetics

August 16, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A certain type of mushroom might epigenetically prevent tumor growth, according to a study published in the Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment. A medicinal mushroom, Phellinus linteus (PL), could come with “magical” anticancer properties. Researchers from New York Medical College found that histone deacetylase (HDAC) inactivation and histone acetylation led to the death of bladder cancer cells. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy often come with severe side effects, and for those suffering from bladder cancer, the use of these therapies is [more…]

Using Epigenetics to Combat a Terrible Neglected Tropical Disease

August 8, 2017 Natalie Crowley

A small freshwater parasite burrows into the bare skin of an unsuspecting swimmer and enters their bloodstream. Once inside the blood, it grows into an adult worm, quietly feasting on its victim’s nutrients and breeding for some time, until one day its destruction becomes serious and life-threatening. While this could be the storyline of a bad horror film, it’s tragically the real tale of schistosomiasis – a deadly neglected tropical disease that kills more than 200,000 people each year in [more…]

A New Epigenetic Barrier to Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

August 1, 2017 Laurel Fish

By adding the right concoction of ingredients, scientists can reprogram your everyday somatic cell into an induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC) – that is, a cultured cell that has the ability to differentiate into almost any other cell type in response to specific environmental factors, similar to an embryonic stem cell.1 This innovative technology allows the study of the molecular mechanisms of early development and disease, without the ethical restrictions associated with embryonic stem cells. Not surprisingly, the possibility of utilizing induced pluripotent stem cells in the field of regenerative medicine is of important focus to many scientists. In a recent post, we touched on the potential ability of vitamins A [more…]

Could We Use Epigenetics and Diet to Fix Binge Eating?

July 25, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Our eating habits can definitely be changed for the worse because of stress, but the reason for an uncontrollable bout of eating may not just be psychological. An underlying epigenetic influence was recently discovered to play a role in binge eating. A new mice study published in Cell Metabolism suggests that a mother’s stress level when she’s pregnant could make her female offspring more likely to engage in binge eating when they grow up. Interestingly, it was also found that [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…]

The Epigenetics Behind Unique Human Faces

July 11, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Here’s a strange question many people probably have not given much thought to: why are our faces shaped the way they are? We know that no two faces are perfectly alike, but why exactly might one person have a long nose and another a small forehead? How is it that our earlobes are attached to our ears and not our chins? Researchers from Switzerland and France have wondered this, and published a study in Science that suggests epigenetics might be [more…]

1 2 3 17