A limited study of parental transmission of anxiety/stress-reactive traits

This 2016 New York rodent study found: “Parental behavioural traits can be transmitted by non-genetic mechanisms to the offspring. We show that four anxiety/stress-reactive traits are transmitted via independent iterative-somatic and gametic epigenetic mechanisms across multiple generations. As the individual traits/pathways each have their own generation-dependent penetrance and gender specificity, the resulting cumulative phenotype is … Continue reading A limited study of parental transmission of anxiety/stress-reactive traits

Does childhood trauma influence offspring’s birth characteristics?

This 2016 Swedish human study investigated the effects of one specific childhood trauma, parental death: “Parental (G1) death during (G2) childhood predicts prematurity and lower birthweight in the offspring generation (G3). This response is dependent on G2 gender, G2 age at exposure and G3 parity, but not on G3 gender. Offspring of women who lost … Continue reading Does childhood trauma influence offspring’s birth characteristics?

Why drugs aren’t ultimately therapeutic

This 2016 Oregon review’s concept was the inadequacy of drug-based therapies, explored with the specific subject of epilepsy: “Currently used antiepileptic drugs: [aren’t] effective in over 30% of patients [don’t] affect the comorbidities of epilepsy [don’t] prevent the development and progression of epilepsy (epileptogenesis). Prevention of epilepsy and its progression [requires] novel conceptual advances.” The … Continue reading Why drugs aren’t ultimately therapeutic

Using salivary microRNA to diagnose autism

This 2016 New York human study found: “Measurement of salivary miRNA in this pilot study of subjects with mild ASD [autism spectrum disorder] demonstrated differential expression of 14 miRNAs that are: expressed in the developing brain, impact mRNAs related to brain development, and correlate with neurodevelopmental measures of adaptive behavior.” Some problems with current diagnostic … Continue reading Using salivary microRNA to diagnose autism

Observing pain in others had long-lasting brain effects

This 2016 Israeli human study used whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG) to study pain perception in military veterans: “Our findings demonstrate alterations in pain perception following extreme pain exposure, chart the sequence from automatic to evaluative pain processing, and emphasize the importance of considering past experiences in studying the neural response to others’ states. Differences in brain … Continue reading Observing pain in others had long-lasting brain effects

What is epigenetic inheritance?

This 2016 review by Eric J. Nestler, a well-known and well-funded researcher, entitled Transgenerational Epigenetic Contributions to Stress Responses: Fact or Fiction? concluded: “Further work is needed to understand whether and to what extent true epigenetic inheritance of stress vulnerability adds to the well-established and powerful influence of genetics and environmental exposures in determining an … Continue reading What is epigenetic inheritance?

A study of how genetic factors determined diet-induced epigenetic changes

This 2016 California rodent study found: “HF [high fat] diet leads to persistent alterations of chromatin accessibility that are partially mediated by transcription factors and histone post-translational modifications. These chromatin alterations are furthermore strain specific, indicating a genetic component to the response. These results suggest that persistent epigenetic modifications induced by HF diet have the … Continue reading A study of how genetic factors determined diet-induced epigenetic changes

The current paradigm of child abuse limits pre-childhood causal research

As an adult, what would be your primary concern if you suspected that your early life had something to do with current problems? Would you be interested in effective treatments of causes of your symptoms? Such information wasn’t available in this 2016 Miami review of the effects of child abuse. The review laid out the … Continue reading The current paradigm of child abuse limits pre-childhood causal research

Beneficial epigenetic effects of mild stress with social support during puberty

This 2016 Pennsylvania rodent study found: “Stress in the context of social support experienced over the pubertal window can promote epigenetic reprogramming in the brain to increase the resilience to age-related cognitive decline in females. These findings are actually consistent with previous studies showing that some amount of adversity, or adversity under more favorable circumstances … Continue reading Beneficial epigenetic effects of mild stress with social support during puberty

What’s the underlying question for every brain study to answer?

Is it: How do our brains internally represent the external world? Is it: How did we learn what we know? How do we forget or disregard what we’ve learned? What keeps us from acquiring and learning newer or better information? How about: What affects how we pay attention to our environments? How do our various … Continue reading What’s the underlying question for every brain study to answer?