DNA Methylation

How stress can change your DNA

A first link between chronic stress, genetics, and mental illness has recently observed in mice. Researchers have discovered that the genes of mice exposed to chronic stress change over time. Modifications were most associated with genes related to a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression, autism spectrum disorder, and schizophrenia.1-3 How exactly are genetics, stress, and mental illness related? DNA, serves as instructions for cells and is broken up into … Continue reading How stress can change your DNA

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Potential repurposing of sleeping-sickness drug for autism

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication. The cause of autism is unknown, but several theories have been proposed. One theory speculates that exposure to stress or other cellular threats can trigger a “cellular danger response” involving purines. If this self-defense mechanism is not regulated properly, the response can remain permanently active, ultimately affecting neuronal development and lead to autism. Based on this theory, Dr. Robert … Continue reading Potential repurposing of sleeping-sickness drug for autism

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Research into our sense of touch leads to new treatments for autism

by Emily Kuehn figures by Kaitlyn Choi When you think about your five senses what is the one you most fear to lose? Informal polling of my friends and family shows that most people don’t want to lose their vision. To be fair, we rely heavily on our sight, but most people don’t even consider what it might be like to lose their sense of … Continue reading Research into our sense of touch leads to new treatments for autism

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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Searching for a verdict in the vaccination debate

by Vivian Chou figures by Daniel Utter If you have been following the 2016 US presidential elections, you are, in all likelihood, aware of the controversy surrounding mandatory childhood vaccination. Vaccines have risen to the limelight in recent years, but their history is much longer than that. Ever since the first vaccination was scientifically documented in 1798 [1], they have reshaped the landscape of human … Continue reading To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Searching for a verdict in the vaccination debate