Manufacturing PTSD evidence with machine learning

What would you do if you were a scientist who had strong beliefs that weren’t borne out by experimental evidence? Would you be honest with yourself about the roots of the beliefs? Would you attempt to discover why the beliefs were necessary for you, and what feelings were associated with the beliefs? Instead of the … Continue reading Manufacturing PTSD evidence with machine learning

Perpetuating the meme that rodent PTSD experiments necessarily apply to humans

This 2015 Texas A&M rodent study found: “Propranolol administration dampened the stress-induced impairment in extinction observed when extinction training is delivered shortly after fear conditioning.” The researchers were way off base in extrapolating this study to humans: “Propranolol may be a helpful adjunct to behavioral therapy for PTSD, particularly in patients who have recently experienced … Continue reading Perpetuating the meme that rodent PTSD experiments necessarily apply to humans

Translating PTSD research findings from animals to humans

This 2014 rodent study stressed the animals, measured their stress responses, then killed them and sampled genes in their amygdala, hippocampus, and blood. The researchers found that glucocorticoid receptor signaling genes were the primary pathway associated with “exposure-related individual differences“ in stress responses for the amygdala and blood. This pathway also placed first for the … Continue reading Translating PTSD research findings from animals to humans

Jet fuel exposure causes diseases in the great-grand offspring

This 2020 Washington State University rodent study examined how great-grandmothers’ JP-8 exposures produced diseases in their great-grand offspring: “Ancestral exposure to environmental influences such as toxicants, abnormal nutrition, and traumatic stress can affect the germline epigenome and promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease in various organisms from plants to humans. Biological mechanisms … Continue reading Jet fuel exposure causes diseases in the great-grand offspring

The epigenetics of perinatal stress

This 2019 McGill review discussed long-lasting effects of perinatal stress: “Epigenetic processes are involved in embedding the impact of early-life experience in the genome and mediating between social environments and later behavioral phenotypes. Since these phenotypes are apparent a long time after the early experience, the changes in gene expression programming must be stable. Although … Continue reading The epigenetics of perinatal stress

Clearing out the 2019 queue of interesting papers

I’m clearing out the below queue of 27 studies and reviews I’ve partially read this year but haven’t taken the time to curate. I have a pesky full-time job that demands my presence elsewhere during the day. :-\ Should I add any of these back in? Let’s be ready for the next decade! Early life … Continue reading Clearing out the 2019 queue of interesting papers

Our brains are shaped by our early environments

This 2019 McGill paper reviewed human and animal studies on brain-shaping influences from the fetal period through childhood: “In neonates, regions of the methylome that are highly variable across individuals are explained by the genotype alone in 25 percent of cases. The best explanation for 75 percent of variably methylated regions is the interaction of … Continue reading Our brains are shaped by our early environments

The role of recall neurons in traumatic memories

This 2018 Swiss rodent study found: “Our data show that: A subset of memory recall–induced neurons in the DG [dentate gyrus] becomes reactivated after memory attenuation, The degree of fear reduction positively correlates with this reactivation, and The continued activity of memory recall–induced neurons is critical for remote fear memory attenuation. Although other brain areas … Continue reading The role of recall neurons in traumatic memories

Group statistics don’t necessarily describe an individual

I’m curating this 2018 UC Berkeley/Drexel/Netherlands analysis of human studies via its press coverage. The authors: “Collaborated to analyze data on hundreds of adults – some mentally or physically sound, others suffering from various conditions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Participants had completed surveys about their mental health and had their heart … Continue reading Group statistics don’t necessarily describe an individual

A disturbance in the paradigm of child abuse

The principal way science advances is through the principle Einstein expressed as: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Members of the scientific community and of the public should be satisfied that the scientific process is working well when hypotheses are discarded due to nonconfirming evidence. … Continue reading A disturbance in the paradigm of child abuse