A book review of “Neuroepigenetics and Mental Illness”

A 2018 online book “Neuroepigenetics and Mental Illness” was published at https://www.sciencedirect.com/bookseries/progress-in-molecular-biology-and-translational-science/vol/158/suppl/C (not freely available). Three chapters are reviewed here, with an emphasis on human studies.

“Chapter Five: Neuroepigenetics of Prenatal Psychological Stress” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877117318300747 (not freely available)

“Chapter Eleven: Using Epigenetic Tools to Investigate Antidepressant Response” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877117318300711 (not freely available)

“Chapter Twelve: Transgenerational Epigenetics of Traumatic Stress” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187711731830053X (not freely available)


Actually, I won’t waste my time or your time with what I planned to do. The lack of scientific integrity and ethics displayed by the book’s publisher, editor, and contributors in the below chapter spoke volumes.

How can the information in any other chapter of this book be trusted?


“Chapter Twelve: Transgenerational Epigenetics of Traumatic Stress”

This chapter continued propagating a transgenerational meme that had more to do with extending paradigms than science. The meme is that there are adequately evidenced transgenerational epigenetic inheritance human results.

As I most recently noted in Epigenetic variations in metabolism, there aren’t any published human studies that provide incontrovertible evidence from the F0 great-grandparents, F1 grandparents, F2 parents, and F3 children to confirm definitive transgenerational epigenetic inheritance causes and effects. Researchers urgently need to do this human research, and stop pretending it’s already done.

How did the book’s editor overlook what this chapter admitted?

“Literature about the inheritance of the effects of traumatic stress in humans has slowly accumulated in the past decade. However, it remains thin and studies in humans also generally lack clear “cause and effect” association, mechanistic explanations or germline assessment.”

Were the publisher and editor determined to keep the chapter heading and the reviewers determined to add another entry to their CVs in the face of this weasel-wording?

“In conclusion, although less studied from a mechanistic point of view, inter- and possibly transgenerational inheritance of the effects of traumatic stress is supported by empirical evidence in humans.”

See the comments below for an example of the poor substitutes for evidence that propagators of the transgenerational meme use to pronounce human transgenerational epigenetic inheritance a fait accompli.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A book review of “Neuroepigenetics and Mental Illness”

  1. Thanks for the link. Weren’t the pivotal studies by Meaney et al. done in animals? Why can’t that be extrapolated to humans? Are there no epigenetic transgenerational studies done in humans? Dutch famine study?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to hear from you, Bruce!

    Yes, Meaney’s work and others really needs to be replicated in humans. The transgenerational meme I refer to above is that this human research has already been done.

    For example, a researcher referred me to the 2013 “Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944–45 Dutch famine” which is freely available at https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1471-0528.12136 as a study finding human transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.

    The methods section showed:
    – The study’s non-statistical data was almost all self-reported by a self-selected sample of the F2 grandchildren, average age 37.
    – No detailed physical measurements or samples were taken of them, or of their F1 parents, or of their F0 grandparents, all of which are required as baselines for any transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.
    – No detailed physical measurements or samples were taken of their F3 children, which is the generation that may provide evidence for transgenerational findings if the previous generations also have detailed physical baselines.

    The study’s researchers drew enough participants (360) such that their statistics package allowed them to impute and assume into existence a LOT of data. But the scientific method constrained them to make factual statements of what the evidence actually showed. They admitted:
    “In conclusion, we did not find a transgenerational effect of prenatal famine exposure on the health of grandchildren in this study.”

    Yet this study is somehow cited for evidence of human transgenerational epigenetically inherited causes and effects.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.