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 offers a veritable cornucopia of new 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 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 which 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 need a constant supply of energy, and this process is initiated by a process referred to as”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, positive mutations accumulate over generations, and when 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 act 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 inside the cell. This causes alterations in gene function and a corresponding reaction physically. There are a number of ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter contains an informative section covering among the most common Epigenetic changes that 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 them 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 subsequently 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, 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 research might 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 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 obese and diabetic. Interestingly, the laboratory 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 only received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what’s happening here, you have to have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they are 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 generation of yeast cells. In cases like this, the creation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Of course, there are additional Epigenetic’s Science techniques they use, including gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they have 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 halt 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 extremely small so we do not 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 be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your own drug factory!