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…]

Father’s Exposure to Phthalates Impact Epigenetic Marks on Sperm DNA

October 10, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New epigenetic research conducted by scientists at the University of Massachusetts suggests that a father’s environment can affect the health of his baby via epigenetic marks in his sperm. Specifically, male exposure to phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors found in plastics, personal care products like shaving cream, and in the environment that surrounds us, were found to have an impact on a couples’ success when having children. Led by Richard Pilsner, an environmental health scientist, this ongoing study supported by [more…]

Exploring the Possibility of Extending Lifespan Using Epigenetic Drift

October 3, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

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…]

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…]

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…]

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