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

blood

Transfusing old blood into young mice aged their systems

A team at UC Berkeley investigated the effects of transfusing blood from young mice into old mice and vice versa. They found that young blood only slightly improves some functions (e.g. brain cell development) in old mice, but old blood significantly decreases those functions in young mice. This points to something present in old blood that actually ages our systems, but that something is still unknown. Continue reading Transfusing old blood into young mice aged their systems

Times Square = a perfect example of ALAN. By chensiyuan [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mice, light and exploring ALAN’s potential health hazards

In deciphering the mysteries of human health, mice have been one of our greatest allies. They have demonstrated the antibacterial properties of penicillin and served as a model for exploring obesity. Now they are helping researchers understand the potential negative effects of artificial light at night, or ALAN. Mounting epidemiological data shows an association of ALAN with cancer, obesity, depression and osteoporosis. Previous work has … Continue reading Mice, light and exploring ALAN’s potential health hazards

Drawing of neurons from the cerebellum. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron#mediaviewer/File:PurkinjeCell.jpg

Progress, but no breakthrough for Circadian Rhythms

From The ability to reset the circadian clock, which controls when animals are awake or asleep, could help people suffering from a variety of sleep and mood disorders. Authors of a new study in Nature Neuroscience claim to have made significant progress towards this goal, with clear applications to human health. Unfortunately, the above popular press article exaggerates the findings of the study. Like all … Continue reading Progress, but no breakthrough for Circadian Rhythms