Immune memory vs. immune adaptation

This 2019 Dutch/German/Romanian perspective aimed for a better understanding of immune systems: “Based on molecular, immunological, and evolutionary arguments, we propose that innate immune memory is a primitive form of immune memory present in all living organisms, while adaptive immune memory is an advanced form of immune memory representing an evolutionary innovation in vertebrates. Innate … Continue reading Immune memory vs. immune adaptation

Adaptations to stress encourage mutations in a DNA area that causes diseases

This 2015 Baylor human cell study subject was the underlying mechanisms of cellular responses to environmental stressors of cold, heat, hypoxia, and oxidation: “Because trinucleotide repeats are overrepresented in gene-regulatory proteins, stress-induced trinucleotide repeat mutagenesis may provide a path for the environment to subtly alter gene regulatory networks – with attendant changes in cell behavior – during … Continue reading Adaptations to stress encourage mutations in a DNA area that causes diseases

Perinatal stress and sex differences in circadian activity

This 2019 French/Italian rodent study used the PRS model to investigate its effects on circadian activity: “The aim of this study was to explore the influence of PRS on the circadian oscillations of gene expression in the SCN [suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus] and on circadian locomotor behavior, in a sex-dependent manner. Research on transcriptional … Continue reading Perinatal stress and sex differences in circadian activity

Caloric restriction’s epigenetic effects

This 2019 US review subject was caloric restriction (CR) without malnutrition: “Cellular adaptation that occurs in response to dietary patterns can be explained by alterations in epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, and microRNA. Epigenetic reprogramming of the underlying chronic low-grade inflammation by CR can lead to immuno-metabolic adaptations that enhance quality of … Continue reading Caloric restriction’s epigenetic effects

OCD and neural plasticity

This 2019 New York rodent study investigated multiple avenues to uncover mechanisms of obsessive-compulsive disorder: “Psychophysical models of OCD propose that anxiety (amygdala) and habits (dorsolateral striatum) may be causally linked. Numerous genetic and environmental factors may reduce striatum sensitivity and lead to maladaptive overcompensation, potentially accounting for a significant proportion of cases of pathological … Continue reading OCD and neural plasticity

Do delusions have therapeutic value?

This 2019 UK review discussed delusions, aka false beliefs about reality: “Delusions are characterized by their behavioral manifestations and defined as irrational beliefs that compromise good functioning. In this overview paper, we ask whether delusions can be adaptive notwithstanding their negative features. We consider different types of delusions and different ways in which they can … Continue reading Do delusions have therapeutic value?

Statistical inferences vs. biological realities

A 2019 UCLA study introduced a derivative of the epigenetic clock named GrimAge: “DNAm GrimAge, a linear combination of chronological age, sex, and DNAm-based surrogate biomarkers for seven plasma proteins and smoking pack-years, outperforms all other DNAm-based biomarkers, on a variety of health-related metrics. An age-adjusted version of DNAm GrimAge, which can be regarded as … Continue reading Statistical inferences vs. biological realities

Epigenetic causes of sexual orientation and handedness?

This 2018 Austrian human study subject was various associations of prenatal testosterone levels to fetal development: “The available evidence suggests, albeit not conclusively, that prenatal testosterone levels may be one cause for the association of sexual orientation with handedness. Associations among women were consistent with predictions of the Geschwind–Galaburda theory (GGT), whereas those among men … Continue reading Epigenetic causes of sexual orientation and handedness?

A top-down view of biological goal-directed mechanisms

This 2016 US/Italy article was written from the perspective of regenerative bioengineering: “Higher levels beyond the molecular can have their own unique dynamics that offer better (e.g. more parsimonious and potent) explanatory power than models made at lower levels. Biological systems may be best amenable to models that include information structures (organ shape, size, topological … Continue reading A top-down view of biological goal-directed mechanisms

The imperative of human transgenerational studies

The coauthor of: A self-referencing study of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance; and A review of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of reproductive disease pointed out the opportunity for the researchers of A seasonal epigenetic effect of conception on BMI to have their work make a difference in their field: “The ability of environmental epigenetics to promote an adaptive … Continue reading The imperative of human transgenerational studies