Drug Combination May Epigenetically Help Prevent Breast Cancer

February 11, 2020 Andrea P

Approximately one out of every eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Breast cancer is considered to be the most lethal cancer for women outside of lung cancer. The economic implications of breast cancer are also huge; setting aside the medical costs faced, breast cancer costs a whopping $6.2 billion in lost wages. With no surefire way to universally detect breast cancer early, it can be difficult to intervene early. Treatments must [more…]

High Sugar Diet May Epigenetically Affect Sperm Quality

February 4, 2020 Andrea P

Obesity continues to be a rising problem in the US. It can result in a number of negative health effects that can shorten life expectancy like diabetes, hypertension, and can even alter the functionality of sperm in men. With fertility levels in recent decline for both women and men it’s important to understand all factors that contribute to healthy reproduction. While correlation does not necessarily mean causation, the relationship between fertility and obesity is important to focus on, and it [more…]

Epigenetics May Be Why Cocaine Cravings Increase With Time After Abstinence

January 28, 2020 Tim Barry

Addiction is an incredibly powerful force that affects many people all over the world. It’s a debilitating, lifelong disease that is difficult to combat. Cocaine addiction is a particularly challenging obstacle because it’s an immediately rewarding drug, delivering a high quick and easy. This trait, paired with drug-associated cues such as location, experience, or certain people is what makes the possibility of relapsing so likely for addicts. But what if there were other factors on a genetic level that cause [more…]

Epigenetic Mechanism May Limit CRISPR Effectiveness

January 21, 2020 Andrea P

CRISPR technology has been one of the hottest tools to emerge in genetics research. Developed based on the modes of defense used by bacteria, CRISPR/Cas9 proteins destroy pathogen DNA in order to prevent the bacterial cells. Scientists were able to then leverage this ability into a tool that can be used to edit genes so that DNA sequences could be altered directly to modify gene expression. The introduction of CRISPR/Cas9 into the biological research toolbox has been revolutionary, primarily in [more…]

Does A Slow Cellular Metabolism Speed Up Aging?

January 14, 2020 Andrea P

Aging is a universal human reality. Concern regarding aging—and a collective aversion to it—has even generated entire industry segments dedicated to anti-aging products, from expensive supplements through pricey lotions. People are afraid of the issues that can come up with advanced age: cancer, cognitive decline, wrinkles and age spots, mobility issues, sexual dysfunction, and any number of other impediments to daily life and ongoing vigor. Scientists want to understand the way aging is reflected in cells, for two key reasons. [more…]

Lazy Versus Active Lifestyle Preferences May Have Epigenetic Roots

January 7, 2020 Andrea P

Some people are content with lying on the couch and watching TV, while others need to be active and exercise every day. Could it be due to the difference in genetics, environment, nurture vs. nature, or something else? In a recent study published in Nature Communications, researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine wanted to examine the relationship between nurture and exercise; specifically the mechanisms responsible for making some people enjoy exercising more than others. The study highlights how epigenetics suggests that [more…]

Alcohol Byproducts Can Epigenetically Trigger Cravings

December 26, 2019 Andrea P

As the holiday season brings about more parties, people are more likely to drink beyond healthy limits. In this social minefield of alcoholic beverages being served liberally, addicts may find themselves more inclined to fall back into their habit, already facing an average rate of relapse somewhere between 40 and 60%. We already know that alcohol can have several different effects on our epigenetics, all of which are negative. We’ve seen that binge drinking as a teenager can severely hinder [more…]

Epigenetic Pathway Found in Ants May Help Explain Human Social Life

December 17, 2019 Andrea P

Social and environmental cues continue to shape our identities well into adulthood, including how we interact with each other socially. But what specific molecular mechanisms are at play here, that allow for this extended plasticity, and—providing a more immediate challenge—how do we study them? In a study out of the University of Pennsylvania, a group of researchers led by esteemed epigeneticist Dr. Shelley Berger wanted to dive into determining the role that epigenetics plays in social behavior. “How behavior becomes [more…]

Epigenetic Marks in Blood May Help Detect Early Alzheimer’s

December 10, 2019 Andrea P

Late onset Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of the disease, which affects over 35 million people around the world with crippling dementia. Recent evidence suggests that early intervention can help slow down the memory loss—one of Alzheimer’s hallmark symptoms. Earlier intervention can occur with earlier detection, and so researchers have been focusing on finding minimally invasive ways to diagnose the disease before the severe dementia fully kicks in. A recent study to this effect was published in Clinical [more…]

Teen Drinking Is Very Bad…For Brain Development

December 3, 2019 Andrea P

Adolescent alcohol exposure is a well-known, major public health problem affecting a large number of youths during a particularly critical moment of cognitive and psychological development. Characterizing its effects and potentially reversing any damage caused is therefore of significant clinical interest. “Adolescent binge drinking is dangerous and has long-term epigenetic effects on the brain,” notes Dr. Subhash Pandey, director of the UIC Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics and senior scientist at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. “Understanding this mechanism [more…]

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