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 bodies and minds – some unsettling, some comforting. The premise of Epigenetic’s Science is that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects aren’t so easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can result in such illnesses as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also describe the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that aren’t 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 procedure 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 can 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 that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most common Epigenetic changes that 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 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 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 affected by methylation, so future study 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. Specifically, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail about the effect 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 particular sort of diet where they only received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body fat fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what’s going on 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 is going to replicate and thus create a new production of yeast cells. In this case, the generation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Of course, there are additional Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, including gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In actuality, they have recently launched a successful clinical trial in which they’re attempting to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may seem, 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 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 very own drug factory!