Epigenetic’s Science is written by award winning author, Raoul Pedretta. Good bye, genetically encoded genes… the first book in the exciting new field of epigenetic biology for general readers. The surging new science of epigenetic genetics provides a veritable cornucopia of new insights into our bodies and minds – some unsettling, some reassuring. The premise of Epigenetic’s Science is that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects are not so easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can lead to such illnesses as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also describe the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants which aren’t detected by standard testing and that can cause serious health problems.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells need a continuous supply of energy, and this procedure is initiated by a process called”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, positive mutations accumulate over generations, and when they get together, these cells form a sort of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed between generations and determines how cells in one family will act in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will react when similar challenges arise in a different family member.
When methylation is induced in a cell, the result can be a whole gamut of changes on the cell surface and in the biochemical pathways inside the cell. This results in alterations in gene function and a corresponding reaction on the body. There are a number of ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. By way of instance, each chapter includes an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes which occur in all of us: puberty. The chapters include;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations at Birth,”” hormonal changes,””perinatal development,””adolescent-onset diabetes,” and”nutrition.” I enjoyed each of these and found them to be quite interesting and educational.
As you know, during adolescence, the body increases its production of estrogen (in anticipation of future pregnancy), and in turn, produces DHT (which stands for”dihydrotestosterone”). DHT subsequently binds to the hair follicles, making it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in men and a condition called”male pattern baldness.” Interestingly, this is not the only cause of hair loss, as there are other genetic and environmental factors that contribute to hair loss. Epigenetic science goes a step further and suggests that these other causes of hair loss may also be influenced by methylation, so future research may shed more light on Epigenetic’s Science.
The next topic that Epigenetic’s Science touches on is the impact that diet has on the body. In particular, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail about the impact that diet has on rats, rodents, and other organisms. To start with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans was given a high fat diet, it became diabetic and obese. Interestingly, the laboratory animals also lost muscle mass, which is indicative of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the lab animals were put on a particular sort of diet where they only received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what is happening here, you must take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they are growing yeast in laboratory cultures and watching what happens. When the yeast grows to a certain point, it is going to replicate and thus create a new production of yeast cells. In cases like this, the generation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Of course, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques they use, including gene regulation and the analysis of cancerous tumors. In actuality, they have recently established a successful clinical trial in which they are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may seem, it is not your everyday normal cancer treatment. This study shows that they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
Besides diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science may be used for other kinds of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Of course, these studies are extremely small so we don’t have much of a sense of what they will mean for human health. Still, it is an exciting and very promising prospect. Just think, one day you might be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your own drug factory!