Epigenetic Mechanism May Reprogram Heart to Fail

August 28, 2018 Tim Barry

Heart disease is one of the most prevalent ailments among Americans, and can often be deadly. According to the CDC, about 1 in 4 deaths is directly related to heart disease, and it is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the US. Risk factors that contribute to the development of heart disease include poor diet, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, and smoking. Coronary artery disease is the leading type of heart disease and is [more…]

Epigenetic Changes Due to Aging May Lead to Cancer

August 21, 2018 Tim Barry

Throughout our lives, all cells in our bodies experience a normal life cycle of growth, maturity, and death. During this time, our cells normally experience damage to DNA by normal functions of the metabolism, or exposure to certain environmental factors like UV light. Ordinarily, our body is able to repair the damage done to the DNA in order to restore healthy cell function. The older we get, the more DNA damage we experience, and if damaged DNA is unable to [more…]

Exposure to Cold Temperatures Can Change Our Gene Expression and Fat Cells

August 14, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Long-term exposure to cold temperatures could actually affect our gene expression and influence our fat cells, a recent study suggests. Research published in Nature Communications offers more evidence on how lifestyle choices and exposure to our environment can dictate the way our genes express themselves, an overarching theme of epigenetics. A group of researchers based out of Tokyo worked alongside colleagues from around the world to track changes to the epigenome following long-term exposure to cold temperatures. They discovered that [more…]

Diet and Good Gut Bacteria Could Epigenetically Change Your Gene Expression

August 7, 2018 Tim Barry

There are many different diets available in the nutritional world today that could dramatically adjust our gut bacteria, depending on what we consume. High-fat, low-carb diets, low-fat, high-carb diets, fasting, and cleanses are just a few examples of popular diets, and even what some may call “fads”, which might leave a person confused (and hungry). Maintaining dietary health is one of the most important factors in ensuring a long, prosperous life. Often times we forget to prioritize healthy eating habits [more…]

Social Deficits of Autism Reversed By Epigenetic Drug

July 31, 2018 Tim Barry

It is estimated that 1 in 59 children in the United States fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. Autism spectrum disorder  (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects the nervous system and is characterized by challenges with speech, social skills and communication.  Many factors can determine a child’s predisposition to developing autism, such as genetic mutations during brain development, chemical imbalance, and certain genetic disorders like tuberous sclerosis  and fragile X syndrome. Autism has been an incredibly difficult disease to [more…]

Epigenetic Mechanism Shows Promise in the Fight Against HIV Latency

July 24, 2018 Tim Barry

HIV is a chronic viral infection that attacks the immune system, eventually incapacitating its ability to fight infection leaving the person vulnerable to the development of AIDS, which often leads to death. Anti-retroviral therapies can help to control the virus, but complete eradication of the virus has been tricky to achieve due its stealthy ability to hide from the immune system. HIV is unable to reproduce itself, so it relies on hijacking cellular machinery in order to ensure its survival. [more…]

Epigenetic Marks From Parents Could Influence Embryo Development and Future Health

July 17, 2018 Tim Barry

DNA is the blueprint from which most living organisms are built. It makes up the genes that carry the distinctive characteristics and information that determine physical appearance and health, and it makes everybody unique. At the beginning of life, human embryos inherit genes from both their mother and father, and although the actual genes cannot be altered, the way they are expressed can be influenced by epigenetics. Parents can have a huge epigenetic influence on the development of an embryo [more…]

Viruses Could Epigenetically Modify a Person’s DNA

July 10, 2018 Tim Barry

Viruses can cause many different health problems in humans including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, herpes, and even cancer.  They are an extremely small foreign organism that invade healthy cells, and seek to wreak havoc in a healthy human or animal. Viruses are comprised of either RNA or DNA covered in a protein shell, and cannot reproduce on their own, so they rely on their host to survive. Once a virus is inside the body, it hijacks the machinery of healthy cells by [more…]

Researchers Modify CRISPR/Cas9 System to Target Epigenetics and Reverse Diseases

June 26, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

CRISPR/Cas9 is receiving a lot of buzz as a precise gene editing tool, but did you know it may also be an epigenome editing tool? Scientists from the Salk Institute used a modified CRISPR/Cas9 technique to alter gene activity rather than altering the actual underlying gene itself. They accomplished this in mouse models with disease-associated genes, treating several different diseases including kidney disease, muscular dystrophy, and type 1 diabetes. In 2014, What is Epigenetics covered the breakthrough of CRISPR/Cas9 and [more…]

Can Your Diet Epigenetically Shape Your Child’s Health?

June 19, 2018 Janeth Santiago Rios

Have you ever heard the old saying “you are what you eat?” This is not just an expression anymore, as scientists have discovered that we are what we eat and possibly even what our parents or grandparents ate. As surprising as it sounds, a pregnant woman’s diet and lifestyle, as well as the diet of an infant in his or her first years of life, may shape the child’s lifelong health or cause them to be more disease prone, not [more…]

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