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It’s in the Genes Researchers Probe Alcohol’s Effect on Epigenetics

As scientists gain a better understanding of the human genome, one rapidly emerging area of research is the effect of alcohol on epigenetics – external modifications to DNA that turn genes “on” or “off.” Epigenetic changes alter the physical structure of DNA. One example of an epigenetic change is DNA methylation — the addition of a methyl group, or a “chemical cap,” to part of the DNA molecule, which prevents certain genes from being expressed. A recent article in the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Alcohol Alert reports on a growing body of research showing how alcohol’s influence on epigenetics may be associated with an array of illnesses and disorders. These include fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), cancer, liver disease and other gastrointestinal disorders, brain development, the body’s internal clock, and immune function. Researchers and clinicians are beginning to explore therapies that might be developed to target the changes occurring through epigenetics. How alcohol affects epigenetics Alcohol consumption leads to

oxygen species (ROS), which are chemically reactive molecules that at high levels can damage cells. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders Women who drink during pregnancy put their developing fetuses at serious risk for a range of conditions collectively known as FASD. In exploring how epigenetics contributes to FASD, researchers have also begun to investigate two complex enzymes that play a crucial role in cell differentiation during fetal development. One, called polycomb protein, remodels chromatin to turn genes off; the other, called trithorax protein, remodels chromatin to turn genes on. Research suggests that exposure to alcohol may

chemical changes within the body that can affect all the epigenetic mechanisms. For one, excessive alcohol consumption interferes with the body’s ability to process and access a chemical called folate. Folate is critical for methylation, a biochemical process that attaches a methyl group to a specific spot on DNA. DNA methylation acts to lock genes in the “off ” position. Chronic alcohol consumption leads to lower-than-normal methylation, or “hypomethylation.” Research also finds that alcohol metabolism leads to an increase in a substance called NADH, which is a byproduct of alcohol metabolism, and through production of reactive

Researchers and clinicians are beginning to explore therapies that might be developed to target the changes occurring through epigenetics due to alcohol use.

disrupt these two enzyme complexes, altering how cells differentiate during fetal development.

alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, and may contribute to alcohol relapse and craving. Hope for the future As researchers begin to untangle the exact nature of alcohol’s interactions with epigenetics, they will be able to design better medications to treat or alleviate a wide range of alcohol-related disorders, including FASD, alcohol addiction, cancer and organ damage. In addition, researchers can now analyze DNA methylation patterns for the entire human genome. This work could yield comprehensive maps of DNA methylation changes in alcohol-associated cancers. Those maps then could potentially be used to develop pharmacological treatments that target epigenetic markers and develop new markers for cancer detection and prognosis. 

Liver disease and the gastrointestinal tract

Alcohol affects epigenetics on many levels within the GI tract and liver, where the majority of consumed alcohol is metabolized and cleared from the body. As alcohol enters the liver, it sets off what could be described as a cascade of epigenetic changes that increase the risk of liver disease, liver cancer and immunological problems. In addition, alcohol-associated epigenetic changes may play a role in what researchers call organ “cross- talk” between the GI tract, the liver and other organs. For one, epigenetic changes to genes involved in joining the cells lining the intestines may be partially responsible for “leaky gut,” which allows endotoxins to enter circulation and initiate liver damage. Alcohol-associated cancers As suggested above, alcohol-related changes involved in epigenetics can be linked to the development of liver cancer. In particular, research suggests that some epigenetic changes can transform normal liver cells back into stem cells, which then can develop into liver cancer. In addition, alcohol acts indirectly on a receptor that, when disrupted, is involved in the development of liver cancer. Alcohol’s role in changing DNA methylation patterns, leading to hypomethylation, may be one of the main routes between alcohol consumption and liver cancer as well as other types of alcohol-associated cancers. Changes in brain functioning Alcohol’s epigenetic effects within the brain are complex and intertwined. But increasing evidence suggests that they result in adaptations within the brain that ultimately influence addictive behaviors, including tolerance and alcohol dependence. As seen in other disorders, changes in DNA methylation are one of the epigenetic changes in the brain caused by chronic alcohol consumption. Although researchers still are piecing together the details, findings to date suggest that epigenetic changes in gene expression induced by alcohol consumption may underlie the brain pathology and adaptations in brain functioning associated with

As researchers begin to untangle the exact nature of alcohol’s interactions with epigenetics, they will be able to design better medications to treat or alleviate a wide range of alcohol-related disorders.

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Meet Our Therapists & Staff Dominique L. Wilson, M.Ed., LPCC, MAC-Clinical Director/ Behavioral Health Clinician I have expertise in providing treatment services for various emotional/behavioral health and substance abuse concerns using CBT model of treatment for the past 8 years. Cognitive-Behavioral treatment leads to success in therapy by identifying and changing negative thoughts, beliefs, and/or situations that could be resulting in negative consequences in your life. I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), a state-certified supervisor for Licensed Professional Counselor Associates, an Adjunct Professor at Lindsey Wilson College’s School of Professional Counseling, a Masters Addiction Counselor (MAC), and a state-certified substance abuse Clinical Services Supervisor, Assessor, and DUI-Instructor. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Counseling Leadership Education and Supervision from University of Cumberlands and I am member of the UCumberland’s Student Advisory Committee. I am a active member of the Kentucky Association of Mental Health Professionals, the Kentucky Counseling Association, and the American Counseling Association.

Stephanie Vittitoe, MAPC, LPCA-Behavioral Health/Substance Abuse Clinician Hi! I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who graduated from Midway College with a Bachelor’s Psychology and received my Master’s in Professional Counseling from the University of the Cumberlands. I am a member of both the American Counseling & the Kentucky Counseling Associations. I am qualified to provide counseling services to children, families, couples, and individuals for many clinical concerns. I strongly believe in creating a supportive therapeutic environment free of judgment. I work diligently to build a strong therapeutic alliance with my clients and work to empower them to achieve their treatment goals and improve their lives. I have extensive experience working with traumatized children and families and use trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. I assist clients in taking the steps towards change, helping identifying negative thoughts and behaviors, and developing positive coping strategies in order to assist them with achieving their goal of a new life!

Natasha Lacey- Office Administrator In my role as the office administrator, I will be your first line of contact with New Life Counseling Services. I will provide you information about the services that are offered at our agency, obtain your insurance/payment information, and assist you with the intake process. I will also assist with scheduling appointments with your therapist and any questions you may have related to insurance and/or clinical information. I enjoy working with the therapists that are a part of our agency and assisting clients with their needs. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

Jessica Moore, M.A, LPCA, T-CADC-Behavioral Health/Substance Abuse Clinican I am a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and earned my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling in 2015. Along with my educational experience, I have been providing substance abuse counseling to individuals for the last 4 years who are treated for Opioid Dependency. I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Associate (LPCA) who is licensed to practice mental health counseling in the state of Kentucky under supervision. I am also a temporary certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor in the state of Kentucky. I will soon obtain my independent License for alcohol and drug abuse counseling during the year of 2017. My experience includes providing individuals with a variety of counseling services in substance abuse treatment, residential, and intensive outpatient settings. I believe that with encouragement and the combination of services and effort, one can change their quality of life. I believe that individuals can improve their mental health and well being by challenging themselves cognitively and learning the power of positive thinking. Perception is key!

Robbi J. Barber, M.Ed., LPCA- Behavioral Health/Substance Abuse-Clinician Life can be an amazing journey; and sometimes it seems unkind. Let us help you bring new life to your journey by seeing life through a different lens. A new lens (therapy) that allows you to no longer walk your journey in darkness but as you apply the light (therapy) your path becomes illuminated! I have years of experience with the substance/drug abuse population; but am qualified to counsel various populations. I mostly use cognitive behavioral therapy as my model treatment but will often use a form of integrative therapy in blending specific types in an eclectic way that works best for the client. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who works part-time at New Life Counseling Services! I earned my BA and Master Degrees in Counseling & Human Development from Lindsey Wilson College. I am currently seeking my EdD from the University of the Cumberlands in Counseling, Supervision and Leadership. I also instruct the DUI 20-Hour Education Program. Jessi Denton, M.Ed., LPCA-Behavioral Health/Substance Abuse Clinician Hello! I am Jessica Denton and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate who is very passionate about the field of Human Services, Counseling, and Mental Health. I am a graduate of Lindsey Wilson College with an M.Ed in Counseling and Human Development with a specialization in mental health. I also received my Bachelor’s of Arts in Human Services and Counseling from Lindsey Wilson College. I have experience working with a variety of individuals. I like to take an approach to therapy that will fit the needs of the client, but I mainly focus on using CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). I believe that when challenging our own negative self-talk, beliefs, and situations an individual will be capable of finding their potential. I believe that as people become more accepting of themselves, they are more capable of finding happiness and contentment in their lives.

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Common Questions How can therapy help me? A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution.The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include: • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values • Developing skills for improving your relationships • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures • Improving communications and listening skills • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems. Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy.Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me? People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives. What is therapy like? Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).

What about medication vs. psychotherapy? It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Do you take insurance, and how does that work? To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them: • What are my mental health benefits? • What is the coverage amount per therapy session? • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover? • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of- network provider? • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.

It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.

If you're looking for high quality, caring, and professional counseling services, you've come to the right place.

CALL US TODAY! (859) 309-2384

New Life CØUNSELING SERVICES

New Life CØUNSELING SERVICES

1099 S. Broadway, 2nd Floor Lexington, KY 40504

Treatment Concerns We provide assistance with managing:

• ADHD • Anxiety • Depression • Bipolar Disorder • PTSD • Oppostional Defiant Disorder • Conduct Disorder • LBGT Issues • Substance Use Disorder • DUI Education/Treatment

We work with a wide range of emotional and behavioral concerns by assisting our clients in their development of a life coping tool box that will provide them a more health emotional/ mental balance in their lives. In a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, we offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client’s individual needs to help attain the personal growth they’re striving for. We work with clients of all ages, races, genders, spiritual affiliations, and sexual orientations. We factor in your particular treatment needs in the selection of which staff therapist will best assist you in achieving your treatment goals. We also assist will referrals to other providers that may be more suited to meet your treatment needs, when necessary.

We factor in your particular treatment needs in the selection of which staff therapist will best assist you in achieving your treatment goals.

Online Counseling Services At N w Life Counseling Services, we realize that people have very busy lives that can make it difficult at times to come to the office for

an appointment.This is why we also offer HIPAA-secure online counseling appointments for your convenience!! You can still receive quality, secure, and confidential counseling services from the comfort of your home, office, car, or any other location you please!! All you need is an internet-enabled device, such as, your computer, tablet, or smartphone!! Contact us today for more info!!

You can still receive quality, secure, and confidential counseling services from the comfort of your home, office, car, or any other location you please!

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Treating addiction with vaccines is a relatively new idea with many unanswered questions

ARE VACCINES THE ANSWER

that arise out of a lack of research. But a new study suggests vaccinating against illicit drugs is not only possible, it could be extremely effective. At the Scripps Research Institute in California, researchers were looking for a way to guard against the lethal and addictive effects of synthetic opioid “designer drugs.” A potentially deadly opioid, fentanyl, is often used as a heroin substitute or mix-in by drug dealers, so researchers developed a vaccine to try to mitigate its effects. Researchers injected mice with three rounds of the vaccine and then exposed them to doses of fentanyl. They found the vaccinated mice did not display any “high” behaviors even months after the last series of vaccine injections. Researchers say the immune systems of the mice developed antibodies that successfully blocked the drug from reaching the brain. “The results were the best we’ve ever seen for any drug vaccine,” says Paul Bremer, a graduate student at Scripps Research Institute who worked on the study.

A new

HAS BEEN SHOWN TO PREVENT OVERDOSES AND STOP OPIOID “DESIGNER DRUGS” FROM AFFECTING THE BRAIN vaccine

The results were the best we’ve ever seen for any drug vaccine. - Paul Bremer, Scripps Research Institute

“ WE WERE ABLE TO BLOCK EXTREMELY LARGE - Paul Bremer DOSES OF FENTANYL TO PROTECT AGAINST OVERDOSES

SAFE AND POWERFUL Not only was the vaccine able to stop intoxication (something researchers suggest could aid in opioid addiction treatment), the vaccine also proved extremely effective in blocking the potentially lethal effects of fentanyl as well. While the chemical is not necessarily toxic in itself, it does produce psychoactive effects that can shut down breathing and stop a person’s heart. Researchers say mice injected with the vaccine could withstand doses of fentanyl up to 30 times the normal rate. “It was just a rst generation vaccine, but it did prove to be very potent,” Bremer says. “We were able to block extremely large doses of fentanyl to protect against overdoses.” A SINGLE PURPOSE Researchers say the vaccine would not protect against heroin or oxycodone, and a mixture of vaccines would be needed to protect against all opioids. But that was somewhat by design. To make sure the vaccine would not interfere with any medications a person may take responsibly later in life, researchers targeted specic molecules so the vaccine would only block fentanyl and its derivatives.

“For unrelated drugs that you would be taking, there would be no effect from the vaccine,” Bremer says. LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE Although still in the early stages of development, researchers say the vaccine represents an exciting step forward in drug vaccine research. The lab is beginning more advanced trials on a similar heroin vaccine which should give them a better idea of how successful the fentanyl vaccine could become. But until more testing can be completed, researchers say they were pleased with the progress and excited for the future of vaccines in the treatment of addiction. “This concept of using a vaccine for addiction isn’t just an academic pursuit, it could really be used in practice,” Bremer says. “I think it’s really promising.”

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By applying complementary therapy approaches and techniques, we will unearth long-standing behavior patterns or negative perceptions that may be holding you back from experiencing a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

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