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 offers 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 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 regular testing and that can cause severe health problems.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells require a continuous supply of energy, and this process is initiated by a process called”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, positive 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 1 family will behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will react when similar challenges arise in a different household 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 reaction on the body. There are many ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. By way of example, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes which exist 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 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 known as”male pattern baldness.” Interestingly, this is not 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 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 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 obese and diabetic. Interestingly, the lab animals also lost muscle mass, which is indicative of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the lab animals were put on a special type of diet where they just received food that contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly quickly.
In order to understand what’s happening here, you must 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 will replicate and thus create a new production of yeast cells. In this case, the generation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Of course, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, including gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they have recently established a successful clinical trial where they’re 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 control and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
In addition to diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science can 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 very 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 could have the ability to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your own drug factory!