A problematic study of oxytocin receptor gene methylation, childhood abuse, and psychiatric symptoms

This 2016 Georgia human study found: “A role for OXTR [oxytocin receptor gene] in understanding the influence of early environments on adult psychiatric symptoms. Data on 18 OXTR CpG sites, 44 single nucleotide polymorphisms, childhood abuse, and adult depression and anxiety symptoms were assessed in 393 African American adults. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), a … Continue reading A problematic study of oxytocin receptor gene methylation, childhood abuse, and psychiatric symptoms

Early-life epigenetic regulation of the oxytocin receptor gene

This 2015 US/Canadian rodent study investigated the effects of natural variation in maternal care: “The effects of early life rearing experience via natural variation in maternal licking and grooming during the first week of life on behavior, physiology, gene expression, and epigenetic regulation of Oxtr [oxytocin receptor gene] across blood and brain tissues (mononucleocytes, hippocampus, … Continue reading Early-life epigenetic regulation of the oxytocin receptor gene

The effects of imposing helplessness

This 2016 New York rodent study found: “By using unbiased and whole-brain imaging techniques, we uncover a number of cortical and subcortical brain structures that have lower activity in the animals showing helplessness than in those showing resilience following the LH [learned helplessness] procedure. We also identified the LC [locus coeruleus] as the sole subcortical … Continue reading The effects of imposing helplessness

Does shame keep you up at night?

This 2016 Netherlands human study found: “Restless REM [rapid eye movement] sleep reflects a process that interferes with the overnight resolution of distress. Its accumulation may promote the development of chronic hyperarousal. We use the term “restless REM sleep” here to refer to REM sleep with a high number of phasic events, including arousals and … Continue reading Does shame keep you up at night?

Advance science by including emotion in research

This 2015 analysis of emotion studies found: “Emotion categories [fear, anger, disgust, sadness, and happiness] are not contained within any one region or system, but are represented as configurations across multiple brain networks. For example, among other systems, information diagnostic of emotion category was found in both large, multi-functional cortical networks and in the thalamus, … Continue reading Advance science by including emotion in research

Chronic pain causes epigenetic changes in the brain and immune system

This 2015 Canadian rodent study by McGill researchers found: “The critical involvement of DNA methylation in chronic pain. We show that in the PFC [prefrontal cortex], a brain region strongly implicated in chronic pain, a stunning number of promoters [control gene expression] are differentially methylated 9 months after injury. These changes are distant both in … Continue reading Chronic pain causes epigenetic changes in the brain and immune system

Lifelong effects of stress

A 2016 commentary A trilogy of glucocorticoid receptor actions on two 2015 French rodent studies started out: “Glucocorticoids (GCs) belong to a class of endogenous, stress-stimulated steroid hormones..they have wide ranging physiologic effects capable of impacting metabolism, immunity, development, stress, cognition, and arousal. GCs exert their cellular effects by binding to the GC receptor (GR), … Continue reading Lifelong effects of stress

What was not, is not, and will never be

Neuroskeptic’s blog post Genetic Testing for Autism as an Existential Question related “A Sister, a Father and a Son: Autism, Genetic Testing, and Impossible Decisions” story: “I decided to put the question to my sister, Maria. Although she is autistic, she is of high intelligence. Maria was excited to be an aunt soon, and was … Continue reading What was not, is not, and will never be

The cerebellum’s role in human behavior and emotions

This 2016 Italian human review considered the lower brain’s contributions to an individual’s behavior and temperament: “In evidencing associations between personality factors and neurobiological measures, it seems evident that the cerebellum has not been up to now thought as having a key role in personality. Cerebellar volumes correlate positively with novelty seeking scores and negatively … Continue reading The cerebellum’s role in human behavior and emotions

Epigenetic effects of cow’s milk

This 2015 German paper with 342 references described: “Increasing evidence that milk is not “just food” but represents a sophisticated signaling system of mammals. This paper highlights the potential role of milk as an epigenetic modifier of the human genome paying special attention to cow milk-mediated overactivation of FTO [a gene associated with fat mass … Continue reading Epigenetic effects of cow’s milk