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 offers a veritable cornucopia of fresh insights into our own bodies and minds – some unsettling, some comforting. 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 result in 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 regular testing and that could cause serious health issues.
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 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 on between generations and decides how cells in one family will behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will react when similar challenges arise in another 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 inside 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 example, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes that exist in all people: puberty. The chapters include;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations in Birth,”” hormonal changes,””perinatal development,””adolescent-onset diabetes,” and”nutrition.” I enjoyed each of them 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 then 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 is not the only cause of hair loss, since 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 study may shed more light on Epigenetic’s Science.
The next topic that Epigenetic’s Science touches on is the effect that diet has on the body. In particular, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail about 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 particular sort of diet where they only received food that contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly rapidly.
So as to understand what is happening here, you have to have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Basically, they’re growing yeast in laboratory cultures and watching what happens. When the yeast grows to a certain point, it will 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 possess.
Needless to say, there are additional Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, such as gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In actuality, they have recently established 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 regular normal cancer treatment. This study shows they are able to control and regulate cells and halt the growth of cancerous tumors.
In addition to diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science may be used for other kinds of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Needless to say, 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 be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your own drug factory!