Epigenetic’s Science is written by award winning writer, 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 fresh 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 aren’t so easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can result in such disorders as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also clarify the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that aren’t detected by standard testing and that can cause severe health issues.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells require a continuous supply of energy, and this procedure is initiated by a process referred to as”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, favorable mutations accumulate over generations, and if they get together, these cells form a sort of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed between generations and decides how cells in one family will behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will respond when similar challenges arise in another household 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 within the cell. This causes alterations in gene function and a corresponding response on the body. There are a number of ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter includes an informative section addressing one of the most common Epigenetic changes which exist in all of us: puberty. The chapters comprise;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations at Birth,”” hormonal changes,””perinatal development,””adolescent-onset diabetes,” and”nutrition.” I enjoyed each of these and found them to be very 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 then binds to the hair follicles, which makes it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in 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 affected by methylation, so future research may shed even more light on Epigenetic’s Science.
The next topic that Epigenetic’s Science touches on is the effect that diet has on the body. Specifically, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail concerning the effect that diet has on mice, worms, 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 suggestive of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the laboratory animals were put on a special sort of diet where they only received food that contained carbohydrates; they lost body fat fairly quickly.
So as to understand what’s going on here, you have to have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Basically, they are growing yeast in laboratory cultures and watching what happens. After the yeast grows to a certain point, it will replicate and thus create a new generation of yeast cells. In this case, the creation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Needless to say, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques they use, including gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In actuality, they’ve recently established a successful clinical trial where they are attempting to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it’s not your regular normal cancer therapy. 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 types of diseases and ailments, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Needless to say, these studies are extremely small so we don’t have much of a sense of what they will mean for human health. Still, it’s 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 very own drug factory!