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Dr. Michael Skinner studies the effects of exposure to toxic substances on genetic material. He and other researchers in the field of epigenetics have established a new paradigm in disease causation. During various stages of life certain cells are susceptible to changes in the molecules attached to DNA in the chromosomes. When an epigenetic shift takes place these cells will develop into cells that are profoundly different from cells in which no epigenetic shift has occurred. Later in life the cells with the epigenetic shift can have a role in disease causation. Diseases that have been associated with epigenetic shifts include: polycystic ovary disease, cancer, obesity, metabolic diseases and abnormalities in the testes and ovaries.
Humans are mammals. Dr. Skinner explains that epigenetic effects observed in animal models such as rats and pigs are taking place in humans. Many substances that we are exposed to every day are now known to cause epigenetic shifts. Most well known among these chemicals are dioxins in animal fat containing foods and bisphenol A, which is present in the lining of cans used for food containers and in cash register receipts.
It is now well established that epigenetic effects are linked to serious harm to human health making exposure minimization highly important. People can minimize their exposure to dioxins by choosing to eat foods that do not contain animal fat.
For more information on epigenetic effects visit the website named below.
Cancer Action News Network
Donald L. Hassig, Producer