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 the fact that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects aren’t very 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 are not 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 constant supply of energy, and this process is initiated by a process called”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, favorable mutations accumulate over generations, and if 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 behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will respond when similar challenges arise in a different family member.
When methylation is induced in a cell, the result may be a whole gamut of changes on the cell surface and in the biochemical pathways within the cell. This results in alterations in gene function and a corresponding response on the body. There are many ways in which Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. By way of instance, each chapter includes an informative section covering among the most common Epigenetic changes which exist 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 very interesting and educational.
As you know, during adolescence, the body increases its production of estrogen (in anticipation of future pregnancy), and then, produces DHT (which stands for”dihydrotestosterone”). DHT then binds to the hair follicles, making it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in a condition called”male pattern baldness” Interestingly, this isn’t the only cause of hair loss, as there are other environmental and genetic 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 study 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 begin with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans was given a high fat diet, it became obese and diabetic. Interestingly, the laboratory animals also lost muscle mass, which is suggestive of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the lab animals were put on a particular type of diet where they just received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly quickly.
In order to understand what is happening here, you have to have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Basically, they are growing yeast in lab cultures and watching what happens. After the yeast grows to a certain point, it is going to replicate and thus create a new production of yeast cells. In this case, the creation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Needless to say, there are additional Epigenetic’s Science techniques they use, such as gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they’ve recently launched a successful clinical trial in which they are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it’s not your everyday normal cancer treatment. This study shows they are able to control and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
In addition to diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science can be used for other types of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Of course, these studies are extremely small so we do not 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 could have the ability to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your own drug factory!