A new study, carried out by researchers from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, finds that the environment can change the expression of a key gene in the brain, influencing intelligence much more than it was previously thought.
Having analyzed the characteristics of a number of genes of 1,500 healthy adolescents and compared the results with the IQ scores and many neurological traits, the researchers discovered a strong relationship between the epigenetic modifications of one particular gene and general IQ. It means that various experiences of our life not only affect the wiring of the brain, but also the way the genes function at a basic level.
The study first author Jakob Kaminski says: “Environmentally-induced gene activity now joins the ranks of other factors known to influence IQ test performance, such as poverty and genetic constitution. In the study, we were able to observe how individual differences in IQ test results are linked to both epigenetic changes and differences in brain activity which are under environmental influences.”
A new research from Northwestern University, USA, suggests that experiences in childhood can influence DNA and alter it for the rest of human’s life.
A team of researchers analyzed over hundred genes associated with inflammation, looking for hints of epigenetic changes, changes that can be influenced by everything we do from how we sleep to how wealthy we are.
One of the more prominent forms of these epigenetic processes is methylation, one of nine of those genes was found to have a close relationship with a number of childhood variables including household socioeconomic status in childhood, extended absence of a parent in childhood, and even whether the person was born in the dry season.
In the future, this study could help explain the prevalence of cardiovascular and certain inflammatory diseases in specific communities.
A new study finds that mind-body interventions, such as yoga and meditation, can reverse gene expression changes causing stress.
For the study, a team of researchers reviews 18 studies with 846 participants concerning effects of numerous mind-body practices, such as yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, and mindfulness, on gene expression.
Having analyzed the received data, the scientists discovered that people practicing mind-body practices have the reduced production of a molecule called nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), which regulated gene expression.
Study leader Ivana Buric of the Centre for Psychology at Coventry University in the United Kingdom says: “Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don’t realize is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.”
Researchers from the University of Oxford in cooperation with the Universities of Groningen, The Netherlands, and Uppsala, Sweden, have pinpointed 12 DNA areas that are associated with the age at which people usually have their first child and the total number of children during the life course.
For their study, the scientists analyzed 62 databases that included information from 238,064 men and women for age at first birth, and almost 330,000 men and women for the number of children.
Previously, it was believed that the age at which we have the first child is connected to personal choices and social circumstances. But now this new research proves that genetic variations are responsible for this age.
Lead author Professor Melinda Mills, from the Department of Sociology and Nuffield College at the University of Oxford, says: “For the first time, we now know where to find the DNA areas linked to reproductive behaviour. For example, we found that women with DNA variants for postponing parenthood also have bits of DNA code associated with later onset of menstruation and later menopause.”
Over the past decades, experts have been working on developing different diets that increasing protein, eliminating fats, lowering calories. But very often the diets fail and are not so effective as was expected.
A new California-based start-up is trying to get to the root of this problem. They believe that the problem is that none of those diets focus on the dieter’s unique genetic makeup. Habit’s “personalized nutrition” program would analyze a person’s DNA to create an individualized food plan and deliver those ingredients to the user’s home. The company officially launches today, with its services beginning in early 2017.
A main purpose of each weight loss diet is to decrease the number of calories a person ingests. But the company’s research has shown that a main cause of failing of all diets is that the same foods can affect people in incredibly different ways–the same meal provides more calories for some and less for others. That’s why it is impossible to create universal diet that works for everyone. For this reason, many scientists are turning to the idea of personalized nutrition or nutrigenomics: Analyzing our DNA to figure out what foods will make us healthiest.