Epigenetic’s Science is composed 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 own bodies and minds – some unsettling, some reassuring. The premise of Epigenetic’s Science is the fact that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects are not very easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can lead to such disorders as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also describe the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that are not detected by standard testing and that could 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 type of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed on between generations and decides how cells in 1 family will act in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will react 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 inside the cell. This causes alterations in gene function and a corresponding response physically. There are a number of ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For example, each chapter includes an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes which occur in all people: 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, which makes it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in men and a condition called”male pattern baldness” Interestingly, this isn’t 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. Specifically, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail concerning the effect that diet has on mice, worms, and other organisms. To begin with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans has been given a high fat diet, it became diabetic and obese. Interestingly, the lab animals also lost muscle mass, which is suggestive of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the lab animals were put on a special type of diet where they only received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body fat fairly quickly.
So as to understand what is going on here, you have to take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they’re 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 has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Needless to say, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, such as gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they’ve recently launched a successful clinical trial where they are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it is not your everyday normal cancer therapy. This study shows they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
Besides diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science can be used for other types of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Needless to say, these studies are very 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 could have the ability to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your own drug factory!