Exposure to Parabens While Pregnant Could Lead to Obese Offspring

August 18, 2020 Andrea P

The paraben family of substances—including methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben—are preservatives frequently found in cosmetics. Approximately 90% of products found in grocery stores contain some amounts of parabens, making it difficult for even the most careful consumer to completely steer clear of them. Those concerned are less nervous about individual items’ paraben levels, with the acceptable range being set by the Food and Drug Administration, and more worried about the potential effects of cumulative exposure. That is, until we start discussing pregnant [more…]

Parenteral Nutrition May Alter Epigenetic Marks in Infant Guinea Pigs

August 4, 2020 Brandon Eudy

Parenteral nutrition (PN) is a means of administering intravenous nutrition to critically ill patients or individuals who cannot otherwise consume food through the normal oral route. Although PN is a critical part of patient care in many clinical situations, it must be carefully administered to avoid harmful side effects. Infants may be especially vulnerable to complications caused by receiving suboptimal PN due to having specific nutrient requirements for growth and development. One other concern with PN mixtures is that they [more…]

Low-Cal Diet Could Change Epigenetic Patterns in Obesity-Related Disease

July 21, 2020 Fanni Daniella Szakal

Obesity is a disease characterized by excessive body fat. It can be caused by environment, a person’s early-life nutrition, and it can even be a result of their parent’s diet. Obesity is so dangerous because associated with many diseases such as hypertension, type-2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. How does extra weight cause so many different problems? Many studies point to the fact that these diseases are, at least partially, mediated by epigenetics. In a study published in the European [more…]

Bisphenol A Can Reprogram Liver’s Epigenome and Result in Disease in Rats

July 7, 2020 Sadman Sakib

There has been growing literature that suggests how environmental chemical exposure can lead to birth defects but the majority of the studies are association based. A fraction of those studies have shown how ambient chemical exposure affects insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism1  or affecting gut-microbiota2. But how early life chemical exposure can affect epigenetics—or change the epigenome and drive the effect till later life was missing. A new study published recently in Nature Communication by Dr. Lindsey Treviño and her [more…]

New Drug Targets Epigenetic Mark, May Help Treat Rare Cancer

June 23, 2020 Danton Ivanochko

In 2020, the FDA approved Epizyme’s drug tazemetostat (Brand name: Tazverik) to treat a rare type of solid tumor called epithelioid sarcoma. Tazemetostat targets the epigenetic enzyme EZH2, which is strongly linked to several cancer types. Now, Epizyme is seeking accelerated approval for tazemetostat to treat a common form of blood cancer called follicular lymphoma, and has clinical trials running for several additional cancer types. Cancer is a genetic disease that causes unrestrained cell proliferation. Typically, chemotherapies treat cancer by [more…]

Gauge Your Age: Epigenetics and the Future of Medicine

June 9, 2020 Adam Alonzi

Why do some people stay healthy throughout their lives and others don’t? While we all age, we don’t all age in the same ways or at the same rate. Epigenetic modifications are largely responsible for this phenomenon, with DNA methylation being the most studied modification. An Epigenetic Clock is a sophisticated way of tracking our “real” age by measuring methylation or demethylation at particular DNA sites (Kanherkar, 2014). The uses for epigenetic clocks are manifold. The most obvious use comes [more…]

Betaine Intake During Pregnancy May Epigenetically Effect Transcription

May 26, 2020 Brandon Eudy

Betaine is a methyl-donor nutrient that can be obtained through the diet and is especially rich in spinach, beets, and whole-wheat foods. Alternatively, betaine can be synthesized from choline obtained through other dietary sources. Methyl donor nutrients provide precursors for methyl groups used in important biological processes including methyltransferase enzymes which regulate DNA methylation. There is currently great interest in better understanding how dietary methyl donors can effect epigenetics, and whether changes in DNA methylation can be carried from generation [more…]

Epigenetics Could Explain Why COVID-19 Affects People Differently

May 12, 2020 Fanni Daniella Szakal

Disclaimer: One of the reference papers has not yet been peer-reviewed. The COVID-19 pandemic spread around the globe in a matter of months, leaving devastating human health and economic consequences in its wake. From a viral point of view, this incredible success is the result of a careful balance between its deadliness and contagiousness. While the number of deaths is nearing the 300,000 mark as of May 2020, many who are infected show only mild symptoms or no symptoms at [more…]

Premature Birth Can Leave Epigenetic Marks on Child’s DNA

May 6, 2020 Andrea P

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the annual figure for preterm births is 15 million babies, which is somewhere in between 5% and 10% of all births worldwide. These babies are born before 37 weeks’ gestation, and are known to be at higher risk for health complications at birth that include: respiratory issues, eye problems, and even neurodevelopmental disorders. But what are the specific molecular mechanisms that drive these health problems? After all, once born, premature babies are given [more…]

Epigenetic Marks May Regulate Liver Disease

April 21, 2020 Brandon Eudy

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an increasingly alarming health problem in the United States where it is estimated that up to 30% of the population has a fatty liver. Approximately 10% of NAFLD patients will progress in disease severity leading to inflammation and fibrosis and eventually more serious consequences such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. Better understanding the molecular and epigenetic changes in the liver driving disease progression could lead to better treatments. Understanding how DNA methylation is altered [more…]

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