PTSD Survivor’s Children May Have Genetic Scars
2010 09 16

By Jeffrey Kluger | Time.com




The Holocaust is a crime that never seems to quit. Even as the ranks of survivors grow smaller each year, the impact of that dark passage in history continues to be felt. And it’s not just the victims who feel the effects; it’s their children too.

Psychologists have long been intrigued by the emotional profile of so-called second-generation Holocaust survivors. Parents who lived through the camps were forever changed by the horrors they witnessed. In the 21st century, many — probably most — would be recognized as suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Back then, the absence of such a diagnosis also meant the absence of effective treatments. As a result, a generation of children grew up in homes in which one, and sometimes both, parents were battling untold emotional demons at the same time they were going about the difficult business of trying to raise happy kids. No surprise, they weren’t always entirely successful.


Over the years, a large body of work has been devoted to studying PTSD symptoms in second-generation survivors, and it has found signs of the condition in their behavior and even their blood — with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, for example. The assumption — a perfectly reasonable one — was always that these symptoms were essentially learned. Grow up with parents afflicted with the mood swings, irritability, jumpiness and hypervigilance typical of PTSD and you’re likely to wind up stressed and high-strung yourself.


Now a new paper adds another dimension to the science, suggesting that it’s not just a second generation’s emotional profile that can be affected by a parent’s trauma; it may be their genes too. The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, was conducted by a team led by neurobiologist Isabelle Mansuy of the University of Zurich. What she and her colleagues set out to explore went deeper than genetics in general, focusing instead on epigenetics — how genes change as a result of environmental factors in ways that can be passed onto the next generation.

To conduct their work, Mansuy’s team raised male mice from birth and continually but unpredictably separated them from their mothers from the time they were one day old until they were 14 days old. Thereafter, the animals were reared, fed and cared for normally, but the early trauma took its toll.

As adults, the subject animals exhibited PTSD-like symptoms such as isolation and jumpiness. More tellingly, their genes functioned differently from those of other mice. The investigators looked at five target genes associated with behavior—most notably, one that helps regulate the stress hormone CRF and one that regulates the neurotransmitter serotonin — and found that all of them were either overreactive or underreactive.
These mice, for the purposes of the study, were the equivalent of first-generation Holocaust survivors. They then fathered young and, like most males of the species, had nothing to do with their upbringing. The pups were raised by their mothers with none of the trauma and separation their fathers had suffered, and yet when they grew up, not only did they exhibit the same anxious behavior, but they also had the same signature gene changes.

"We saw the genetic differences both in the brains of the offspring mice and in the germline — or sperm — of the fathers," says Mansuy.
Mouse studies, by their definition, are limited, particularly when the animals are being used as stand-ins not merely for human biology but for human behavior as well. Still, in this case, the nonhuman models were actually an advantage, since you could hardly run a control experiment in which second-generation survivors of the Holocaust were separated from their fathers, ensuring that you were studying inherited — not acquired — traits. What’s more, says Mansuy, is that "with animals, you can study the brain in detail."

That doesn’t mean that some studies seeking similar findings couldn’t be conducted in human subjects. Straightforward analysis of blood, plasma and sperm from volunteers could reveal signs of genetic changes similar to those seen in mice. And a deeper analysis of the mouse genes should yield other target genes to study in people. "We’re now doing a high throughput study of hundreds of genes that go beyond the first five," says Mansuy.

The Holocaust is hardly the only life crisis that can shape behavior and genes. Survivors of Afghanistan, Iraq or Darfur — or even those who grew up in unstable or abusive homes — can exhibit similar changes. But Holocaust survivors remain one of the best study groups available because their trauma was so great, their population is so well known, and so many of them have gone on to produce children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. Humans, alas, may never run out of ways to behave savagely toward one another. But the better we can understand the price paid by the victims — and the babies of the victims — the better we may be able to treat their wounds.


Article from: Time.com

[Ed Note: This is an interesting article in that it might lend support to those who theorize that ancient peoples who suffered trauma in a global catastrophe might have transmitted that antediluvian knowledge through genes. May we still be traumatized today by the same genetics that experienced a near-extermination of our species in ancient past? Are there warning signs still around us today, telling us we should beware?
Is Jung being proven correct when he spoke of a ’collective unconscious’ wherein "exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals."

~E




Also tune into:

Bruce Lipton - The Biology of Belief

Bruce Lipton - The Biology of Belief Continued

Michael Dunning - The Sacred Yew Tree: The Embryonic Tree of Life

Lynne McTaggart - The Intention Experiment

Gregg Braden - The Divine Matrix

Paul A. LaViolette - Earth Under Fire, Galactic Superwaves & Subquantum Kinetics

Michael Tsarion - Irish Origins Part 1 - The West to East Movement of Civilization, Land Bridges & Age of Catastrophe

Edmund Marriage - Global Catastrophe, Restart of Civilization & The Anu-Nagi (The Shining Ones)

Lucy Wyatt - The Ancient Elite & The Future of Civilization

Colin Wilson - The Outsider, The Robot, Magic & the Occult

Marcel Kuijsten - Julian Jaynes, the Bicameral Mind & The Origin of Consciousness

Marcel Kuijsten - Entheogens, Dreams, the Unconscious & Neurology



Related Articles
The discovery of DNA variability, holographic blueprints and the symphony of life
Pentagon’s Advice to Traumatized Veterans: Think Happy Thoughts!
Scientists may soon be able to erase fear and trauma from your mind
Scientific Proof that Your Childhood Traumas are a MAJOR Factor in Your All Your Illnesses


Latest News from our Front Page

Hungary’s Orban Bashes Liberal Immigration Policy
2014 08 29
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday lashed out against immigration, setting one of the main policy objectives of his next term in power after winning parliamentary elections in April. “The goal is to cease immigration whatsoever,” said Hungary’s prime minister. “I think the current liberal immigration policy, which is considered obvious and morally based, is hypocrite,” Mr. Orban said. At a ...
China’s “Duplitecture” Cities Mimic the World’s Greatest Architectural Hits
2014 08 29
The best knockoffs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes, but China’s knockoffs go way beyond fashion. There are knockoff Apple stores that look so much like the real thing that some employees believe they are working in real Apple stores. And then there are entire knockoff cities. There are Venices with ...
Kiev loses control of Novoazovsk, rebel troops advance in southeast Ukraine
2014 08 29
Kiev’s troops had to leave the eastern Ukrainian city of Novoazovsk to save their lives, said the country’s Security and Defense Council. The authorities admitted that self-defense forces are advancing and leading a counteroffensive in the southeast. Along with Novoazovsk, Kiev troops have lost control over the villages of Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo in the Donetsk Region of Eastern Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s ...
Mohammed is most popular name in Oslo
2014 08 29
For the first time in the capital city’s history, Mohammed is the most common name for boys and men, said a study on Thursday. Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrå - SSB) has counted the population of Oslo and found that Mohammed is the most common male name in Oslo for the first time ever. Jørgen Ouren of SSB said to NRK: “It is ...
Beaten to Death at McDonald’s
2014 08 29
To the four clean-cut college freshman out on a double date, it had seemed like a typical McDonald’s: spanking clean, well-lighted, and safe. It was in a good neighborhood too, right next to Texas A&M University in College Station -- a campus known for its friendly atmosphere and official down-home greeting: “howdy.” Shortly after 2 A.M. that Sunday, they pulled into ...
More News »