1 Dec

Researchers Reveal Trauma Parents Influencing Child Gene

Do you have the same mental problems as your parents? For example there is fear on certain objects or under certain conditions?

If so, the statement that fear or trauma could be a derivative problem is true. This is also corroborated by recent research published. The research explains that parental trauma can affect your genes at birth and keep going until you grow.

More specifically, the study reveals the effects of childhood traumas can be passed on to future generations, according to a new study published Nov. 29 in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry.

The study was conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as researchers at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, and the University of Helsinki in Finland.

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The researchers studied the mental health of children whose parents were evacuated as children from Finland during World War II, and found the trauma experienced by parents as teens directly affects their children – especially girls.

Researchers also studied Finnish children who were not evacuated during World War II, but remained in their homes. According to the study, refugee women and girls are at higher risk for hospitalization due to psychiatric mood disorders when compared with non-evacuated Finnish women and their children.

In fact, Finnish refugee girls are over four times more likely to be hospitalized because of mental health problems – whether their mothers are hospitalized or not. Interestingly, this study found no increased risk for refugee children.

Between 1941 and 1945, thousands of children were sent to live in Sweden and neighboring countries to avoid the dangers of war such as bombings, malnutrition, and other potential hazards.

However, while refugees have escaped the physical dangers, they face greater psychological trauma by having to leave their parents, learn new languages, and adapt to new cultures.

While a 2013 study confirmed that evolved Finnish children actually face greater psychological difficulties and traumas than children living, the NIH study shows that trauma can have grave consequences for the generation.

“Many studies have shown that traumatic exposure during pregnancy can have a negative effect on offspring,” says study author Stephen Gilman, ScD.

“Here, we find evidence that exposure to a mother’s childhood trauma – in this case separation from family members during the war – may have long-term health consequences for her children,” he continued.

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Author co-author of the NIH study, Dr. Torsten Santavirta, adding, his observations about the long-term psychological risks that come to the next generation are about and underscore the need to consider potential benefits and risks when designing policies for child protection.

Although researchers are not sure why the increased risk of psychiatric illness is passed on from mother to child, the study cites two possibilities: First, researchers believe that a traumatic late refugee parenting style can have a negative impact on their daughter.

In addition, the researchers also believe that their findings may be caused by epigenetics. Simply put, epigenetics is a branch of science that examines our genetic markers, and the way our environment, culture, and lifestyle choices can affect psychological and physical development. Epigenetic inheritance specifically looks at how the trauma of our parents can be passed down from generation to generation.

Epigenetics is still a fairly new field, but many scientists believe it can help determine the antimeneration effects that racism and systemic xenophobia have on the marginalized people, especially in the United States.

A 2013 study showed that health differences between American blacks – such as chronic stress, higher infant mortality, and low birth weight – have persisted, in part, because of the negative impact of racial discrimination.

In addition, another study published in 2013 examined how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) altered DNA sequences in Native Americans that helped regulate stress, and caused the risk of higher psychiatric problems in future generations.

In particular, a study in 2016 found that Holocaust victims’ children were more vulnerable to mental health problems and chronic stress because of the same DNA changes as those of Native Americans.

While researchers at NIH concluded that more research needs to be done to support their findings, they hope their studies will encourage others to find ways to stop transgenerational mental health problems.

It’s safe to assume your family history can play a direct role in your mental health, so now may not be a bad time to study your offspring.

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