On Primal Therapy with Drs. Art and France Janov

Experiential feeling therapy addressing the pain of the lack of love.

Epigenetic effects of diet, and reversing DNA methylation

This 2015 French review focused on:

“The role of maternal health and nutrition in the initiation and progression of metabolic and other disorders.

The effects of various in utero exposures and maternal nutritional status may have different effects on the epigenome. However, critical windows of exposure that seem to exist during development need to be better defined.

The epigenome can be considered as an interface between the genome and the environment that is central to the generation of phenotypes and their stability throughout the life course.”

The reviewer used the term “transgenerational” to refer to effects that were more appropriately termed parental or intergenerational. Per the definition in A review of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of reproductive disease, for the term to apply there needed to be evidence in subsequent generations of:

“Altered epigenetic information between generations in the absence of continued environmental exposure.”

The review had separate sections for animal and human studies.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663595/ “Impact of Maternal Diet on the Epigenome during In Utero Life and the Developmental Programming of Diseases in Childhood and Adulthood”


I arrived at the above review as a result of it citing the 2014 Harvard Reversing DNA Methylation: Mechanisms, Genomics, and Biological Functions. I’ll quote a few items from that review’s informative “Role of DNA demethylation in neural development” section:

“Distinct parts of mammalian brains, including frontal cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum, all exhibit age-dependent acquisition of 5hmC [an oxidized derivative of 5mC [methylation of the fifth position of cytosine]].

In fact, the genome of mature neurons in adult central nervous system contains the highest level of 5hmC of any mammalian cell-type (~40% as abundant as 5mC in Purkinje neurons in cerebellum). These observations indicate that 5mC oxidation and potentially DNA demethylation may be functionally important for neuronal differentiation and maturation processes.

A comprehensive base-resolution analyses of 5mC and 5hmC in mammalian frontal cortex in both fetal and adult stages indicate that non-CpG methylation (mCH) and CpG hydroxymethylation (hCG) drastically build up in cortical neurons after birth, coinciding with the peak of synaptogenesis and synaptic pruning in the cortex. This study demonstrated that mCH could become a dominant form of cytosine modifications in adult brains, accounting for 53% in adult human cortical neuronal genome.

In mature neurons, intragenic mCH is preferentially enriched at inactive non-neuronal lineage-specific genes, indicating a role in negative regulation of the associated transcripts. By contrast, genic hCG is positively correlated with gene expression levels.”

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 retrospective self-report inventory, was used to assess physical, sexual, and emotional abuse during childhood.

While OXTR CpG methylation did not serve as a mediator to psychiatric symptoms, we did find that it served as a moderator for abuse and psychiatric symptoms.”

From the Limitations section:

  1. “Additional insight will likely be gained by including a more detailed assessment of abuse timing and type on the development of biological changes and adverse outcomes.
  2. The degree to which methylation remains fixed following sensitive developmental time periods, or continues to change in response to the environment, is still a topic of debate and is not fully known.
  3. Comparability between previous findings and our study is limited given different areas covered.
  4. Our study was limited to utilizing peripheral tissue [blood]. OXTR methylation should ideally be assessed in the tissues that are known to express OXTR and directly involved in psychiatric symptoms. The degree to which methylation of peripheral tissues can be used to study methylation changes in response to the environment or in association with behavioral outcomes is currently a topic of debate.
  5. Our study did not evaluate gene expression and thus cannot explore the role of study CpG sites on regulation and expression.”

Addressing the study’s limitations:

  1. Early-life epigenetic regulation of the oxytocin receptor gene demonstrated – with no hint of abuse – how sensitive an infant’s experience-dependent oxytocin receptor gene DNA methylation was to maternal care. Treating prenatal stress-related disorders with an oxytocin receptor agonist provided evidence for prenatal oxytocin receptor gene epigenetic changes.
  2. No human’s answers to the CTQ, Adverse Childhood Experiences, or other questionnaires will ever be accurate self-reports of their prenatal, infancy, and early childhood experiences. These early development periods were likely when the majority of the subjects’ oxytocin receptor gene DNA methylation took place. The CTQ self-reports were evidence of experiences at later times and places, distinct from earlier experience-dependent epigenetic changes.
  3. As one example, the 2009 Genomic and epigenetic evidence for oxytocin receptor deficiency in autism was cited in the Introduction section and again in the Limitations section item 4. Since that study was sufficiently relevant to be used as a reference twice, why didn’t the researchers provide at least a partial comparability map between its findings and the current study?
  4. Early-life epigenetic regulation of the oxytocin receptor gene provided evidence for an answer to the question of whether or not an individual’s blood could be used to make inferences about their brain oxytocin receptor gene DNA methylation. The evidence said: NO, it couldn’t.
  5. It’s assumed that oxytocin receptor gene DNA methylation directly impacted gene expression such that increased levels of methylation were associated with decreased gene transcription. The study assumed but didn’t provide evidence that higher levels of methylation indicated decreased ability to use available oxytocin due to decreased receptor expression. The study had no control group.

To summarize the study’s limitations:

  1. The study zeroed in on childhood abuse, and disregarded evidence for more relevant factors determining an individual’s experience-dependent oxytocin receptor gene DNA methylation. That smelled like an agenda.
  2. The study used CTQ answers as determinants, although what happened during the subjects’ earliest life was likely when the majority of epigenetic changes to the oxytocin receptor gene took place. If links existed between the subjects’ early-life DNA methylation and later-life conditions, they weren’t evidenced by CTQ answers about later-life that couldn’t self-report relevant early-life experiences that may have caused DNA methylation.
  3. There was no attempt to make findings comparable with cited studies. That practice and the lack of a control group reminded me of Problematic research with telomere length.
  4. The researchers tortured numbers until they confessed “that CpG methylation may interact with abuse to predict psychiatric symptoms” although the study provided no direct evidence that each subject’s blood oxytocin gene receptor DNA methylation interacted as such. Did the “may interact” phrase make the unevidenced inferences more plausible, or permit contrary evidence to be disregarded?
  5. See Testing the null hypothesis of oxytocin’s effects in humans for examples of what happens when researchers compound assumptions and unevidenced inferences.

The study’s institution, Emory University, and one of the study’s authors also conducted Conclusions without evidence regarding emotional memories. That 2015 study similarly disregarded relevant evidence from other research, and made statements that weren’t supported by that study’s evidence.

The current study used “a topic of debate” and other disclaimers to provide cover for unconvincing methods and analyses in pursuit of..what? What overriding goals were achieved? Who did the study really help?

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/cdev.12493/ “Oxytocin Receptor Genetic and Epigenetic Variations: Association With Child Abuse and Adult Psychiatric Symptoms”

A problematic study of DNA methylation in frontal cortex development and schizophrenia

This 2015 Baltimore human study found:

CpGs that differ between schizophrenia patients and controls that were enriched for genes related to development and neurodifferentiation.

The schizophrenia-associated CpGs strongly correlate with changes related to the prenatal-postnatal transition and show slight enrichment for GWAS [genome-wide association study] risk loci while not corresponding to CpGs differentiating adolescence from later adult life.

Only a fraction of the illness-associated CpGs, 4.6%, showed association to nearby genetic variants in the meQTL [methylation quantitative trait loci] analysis, further suggesting that these findings may be more related to the epiphenomena of the illness state than to the genetic causes of the disorder.

These data implicate an epigenetic component to the developmental origins of this disorder.”

It wasn’t surprising in 2015 to find “an epigenetic component to the developmental origins of this disorder.” From the supplementary material:

“Diverse chromatin states suggest vastly different epigenetic landscapes of the prenatal versus postnatal human brain.

Approximately half of the CpGs had DNAm [DNA methylation] levels positively correlated with expression across the lifespan, and half had DNAm levels negatively correlated.

These results suggest that many of the epigenetic changes occurring between prenatal and postnatal life in prefrontal cortex manifest in the transcriptome, and that the directionality of association is not strictly linked to the location of the CpG or DMR [differentially methylated region] with respect to an annotated gene.

Diagnosis-associated CpGs were relatively small compared with those differentially methylated between fetal and postnatal samples.”


The studied brain area was limited to the dorsolateral portion of the prefrontal cortex, which isn’t mature in humans until we’re in our late teens/early twenties.

The researchers ignored brain areas that were fully developed or further along in development – such as the limbic system – during “the prenatal-postnatal transition.”

The researchers thus intentionally blinded themselves from possibly discovering “many of the epigenetic changes occurring between prenatal and postnatal life” associated with schizophrenia and these more-developed brain areas.

Where’s the evidence that the developmental origins of schizophrenia have no associations with brain structures that closely approximate their lifelong functionalities at birth?


The study’s limitations didn’t hamper researcher hubris in a press release for a site that touts business news, such as:

“This conclusion, while perhaps not the final verdict on the subject, is hard to resist given this remarkable evidence”

When understanding GWAS at an individual level, it should also be acknowledged that Genetic statistics don’t necessarily predict the effects of an individual’s genes.

http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.4181.html “Mapping DNA methylation across development, genotype and schizophrenia in the human frontal cortex”

Full study link from the press release

Trapped, suffocating, unable to move – a Primal imprint

“The malady of needing to move constantly: organizing trips, making reasons to go here and there, and in general, keeping on the move..below all that movement is a giant, silent scream.

The price we pay is never knowing our feelings or where they come from.

We have the mechanism for our own liberation inside of us, if we only knew it.

When we see the constant motion we understand, but we never see the agony. Why no agony? Because it is busy being acted-out to relieve the agony before it is fully felt.

http://cigognenews.blogspot.com/2015/11/epigenetics-and-primal-therapy-cure-for_30.html “The Miracle of Memory – Epigenetics and Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis (Part 13/20)”

Genetic causes for epigenetic symptoms

This 2015 human summary study was of 44 genetic disorders that disrupt the maintenance of epigenetic modifications:

“..making them likely to have significant downstream epigenetic consequences. Interestingly, these patients often demonstrate neurological dysfunction, suggesting that precise epigenetic regulation may be critical for neuronal homeostasis. However, at the same time, it is important to keep in mind that many of these proteins have additional non-epigenetic roles.

Mutations in many of these components have now been linked to a number of well-known causes of intellectual disability. Intellectual disability is generally defined as deficits of intellectual function and adaptive behavior that occur during the developmental period.

Given the opposing activity of many of the components of the epigenetic machinery, the pathogenic sequence in these disorders involves an imbalance of chromatin states..Keeping a subset of genes under “pressure” from two opposing systems may allow the cellular system to rapidly respond to environmental stimuli.

These disorders, on average, have unusual phenotypic breadth..Similarly, there is a shift in distribution toward a higher number of organ systems affected.

In addition to developmental phenotypes (multiple congenital anomalies), in some cases there appear to be ongoing defects that remain consequential in post-natal life. An example of the latter is the hippocampal memory defects seen in many of the mouse models.

This raises the question whether cells undergoing neurogenesis and synaptogenesis are particularly sensitive to subtle defects of the epigenetic machinery and downstream epigenetic abnormalities..A major remaining question is whether neurogenesis defects and/or abnormalities of synaptic plasticity are a unifying pathophysiological process.”

The researchers also made a good representation of the 44 genetic disorders on a wheel graph. I look forward to further research that includes non-genetic disruptors of epigenetic modifications.

http://genome.cshlp.org/content/25/10/1473.full “The Mendelian disorders of the epigenetic machinery”

Leaky gates, anxiety, and grocery store trips without buying list items

An interview with Jeff Link, the editor of Dr. Arthur Janov’s 2011 book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” with Ken Rose:

Even further confirmation for some of the views of Janov, that maybe weren’t widely accepted for a time, it’s new research now being done into memory and what a lot of scientist are seeing, a lot of different studies is that memory reactivates the same neuroimpulses that were initially firing off when the event happened.

So a traumatic event when you remember it, the act of remembering it is actually creating a neuromirror of what went on initially.

In a lot of ways that is what Primal Therapy is attempting to do; is to go back to that place and reconnect, or as it’s sometimes referred to, reconsolidate the brain state so that real healing can take place.

Transcript (part 4 of 6): http://cigognenews.blogspot.com/2015/09/ken-rose-on-life-before-birth-part-46.html

MP3: http://www.pantedmonkey.org/podcastgen/download.php?filename=2011-12-15_1300_what_now_jeff_link.mp3