Socioeconomic Determinants of Health and Epigenetic Responses

Published by Alicia Ferguson on

Socioeconomic Determinants of Health and Epigenetic Responses
What are Socioeconomic Determinants of health (SDOH) and their potential epigenetic responses? 

Scientists want to learn how going through hardships can affect health outcomes. SDOH are ways connections with people and access to resources can affect how healthy a person is. This can include where a person lives, income, and access to food or safety. Some people may experience more SDOH hardships than others. These hardships may affect epigenetic patterns and health outcomes. Epigenetic patterns are changes that occur in DNA that can result in some genes turning on and off. Sometimes the epigenetic patterns can increase disease risks. These types of DNA on/off switches may relate to SDOH experiences.


How is the research done? 

This project explores if tough experiences can alter epigenetic patterns. The idea is that SDOH can impact overall health by controlling which genes are on or off. The research team will use BioVU resources to select those who have experienced hardships. They will study their DNA and past health problems. This may help find links between hardships and changes in epigenetic patterns that affect health. The study team is using technology to see how genes are turned on or off due to these experiences. This information will be compared to the information from people who haven’t had as many tough times. They hope to find out how hard times can make someone more prone to illness and come up with new ways to help.


What is the importance of this study? 

This project aims to understand how hard times can impact health. Researchers will study how it changes gene function. This research might spotlight health and resource gaps and help find ways to solve them.