Human genes are widely discussed nowadays, as scientists are willing to understand how they are connected with people’s health conditions. Epigenetics is one of those studies that focus on alterations in gene expression. In particular, it discusses those heritable changes that do not influence human DNA. Denoting alterations in a chromosome, this study manages to reveal the way gene function changes under different influences. Professionals who work in this sphere are willing to define all possible alterations of the gene’s state. They believe that being aware of all causes and effects, they will be able to predict people’s future health conditions and prevent numerous complications. In this way, there might be a possibility to avoid even those influences that lead to cancer.
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Reaction to the Video
The basics of epigenetics are discussed in the video created by NOVA scienceNOW (2009). The information provided in it impressed me greatly and allowed me to enhance my understanding of the topic because all discussions turned out to be easy to understand. First of all, the very explanation of what is epigenome and genes’ expression appealed to me, as the researcher compared epigenome with software that defines the way hardware works. Thus, I managed to understand that epigenome is responsible for telling our genes what they are and how they are expected to work. Based on this information, it was not difficult to get the essence of the study with identical twins. It made me realize that even having the same DNA sequence people can have different health conditions because they are constantly affected by various changes in their environment. Over time, differences in epigenome increase significantly even though the DNA sequence remains the same. Understanding what exact changes cause particular alterations in the human health condition, professionals will be able to prevent diseases.
Reaction based on Family History and the Article
With the help of a family history worksheet, I managed to find out the most common health conditions that my family members have. Aligning this information with epigenetics, I have an opportunity to consider the likelihood of acquiring the same problems. In particular, I will speak about hypertension, psoriasis, and heart disease, as they are common in more than one of my relatives.
My parents and my grandparents have some cardiac issues. Even though they are not the same, a particular connection can be found. According to Whayne (2015), the epigenetic regulation of heart issues exists. In particular, cardiovascular problems can be triggered by nutrition and physical exercises. Thus, it is significant for me to pay attention to these factors. Whayne’s (2015) article made me realize that environmental changes have an enormous influence on the epigenome. By living the way my relatives lived before they acquired heart problems, I increase my chances of facing the same adverse outcomes.
High blood pressure is another issue familiar to my family. In particular, my father and his sister have this problem. Based on this information, it is possible to presuppose that the environment in which they were brought up affected their condition. Of course, they could have inherited this problem from their relatives, but epigenetics should be discussed closer in this situation because my grandparents did not have the same problem. According to You-Lin, Huang, and Chan (2014), differences in melatonin can affect people’s risk of hypertension and additional complications on their kidneys. Being aware of this fact, I should have a test to identify my level of melatonin and pay attention to my circadian rhythmicity because these are the factors that put me at risk of having hypertension.
Finally, I need to pay attention to the issue of psoriasis, as it affected both my mother and her brother. According to Woo, Cho, and Park (2017), DNA methylation is a factor that is to be considered in detail when speaking about this problem. Attention should be paid to the immunological mechanisms as they lead to this disease, triggering an increased production of skin cells.
Reaction Based on the Living to 100 Questionnaires
According to Living to 100 questionnaires, my life expectancy is 98 years. I believe that this result is great, especially considering my family history and the possibility of having heart disease or hypertension. I believe that I have a chance to live that long because of a range of positive changes in my behavior that I managed to reach. Being aware of the fact that I am at risk of heart issues, high blood pressure, and psoriasis, I investigated the environment in which my relatives lived to consider what things I have already altered and can alter in the future to increase the possibility of avoiding these problems. For instance, I take vitamins and supplements unlike my relatives, which provides me with an opportunity to enhance my health condition and increase my resistance to adverse influences. I exercise regularly, which is good for my heart and blood pressure and my physical exertion is normal and has no adverse effects on my body. In addition to that, I try to avoid stressful situations, which minimalizes my risk of having psoriasis and hypertension. Even if I face stress, I try to get engaged in some activity that will distract me and give me positive emotions. Nevertheless, I believe that there is a possibility to enhance my health and longevity even more.
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Possibility to Improve My Health and Longevity
Realizing that I am at risk of having heart issues and psoriasis, I try to avoid such bad habits as smoking and alcohol abuse and I try to drink caffeine as rarely as possible. I do my best to overcome stressful situations, avoiding their adverse influence as well. However, I believe that it will be good for me to try meditation or yoga, as these practices are considered to be rather beneficial in this perspective. What is more, I think that I should pay more attention to my nutrition because it is one of the risk factors considered by epigenetics. Even though I am engaged in physical exercises, I do not consume enough healthy food needed to support my body. In this way, I should consider the possibility of starting a healthy diet, adding more vegetables and meat to my menu. According to You-Lin et al. (2014) and their study of epigenetics, I may have an opportunity to avoid issues associated with high blood pressure if I pay attention to the possibility of melatonin therapy. Moreover, maternal melatonin therapy can provide an opportunity to avoid this health problem in the offspring. In addition to that, it will be advantageous for me to regulate melatonin that is present in my body. Thus, I should do my best to develop consistent circadian rhythmicity, ensuring that the stress provided on my organism (even in case of jetlag) is minimal.
NOVA scienceNOW. (2009). Epigenetics. Web.
Whayne, T. (2015). Epigenetics in the development, modification, and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Molecular Biology Reports, 42(4), 765-776.
Woo, Y., Cho, D., & Park, H. (2017). Molecular mechanisms and management of a cutaneous inflammatory disorder: Psoriasis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18(12), 2684-2721.
You-Lin, T., Huang, L., & Chan, J. (2014). Transcriptional regulation of programmed hypertension by melatonin: An epigenetic perspective. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(10), 18484-18495.