View Full Version : Trauma- intergenerational epigenetic effects.


Kunga Dorji
04-26-14, 01:19 AM
There are problems with the way this data is presented but the prospect of an intergenerational epigenetic effect that might impact upon the grandchildren of traumatised men is intriguing.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2611317/How-trauma-life-passed-SPERM-affecting-mental-health-future-generations.html

So- is the current big upswing in mental illness actually representing an expression of the trauma experienced by individuals during World War 2?

The big issues with this article is the automatically negative assumption that these epigenetic changes have a one to one relationship with mental illness
- and they involve the same thinking flaw that imagines "genes for mental illness".

Kunga Dorji
04-26-14, 06:10 PM
So to expand on the thesis that I outlined above:

It is clear now that there are a number of mechanisms by which exposure to trauma increases the sensitivity to environmental stimuli of the offspring.

If you look closely at this article you will see that the conclusions of the study are badly contaminated by the intellectual pre-conceptions of its authors.

Doctors work with a disease model-- so we see genes as predisposing to disease.
Really the thinking here is rather pitiful.
Genes that occur with any frequency in our gene pool do so because they confer survival advantage.



If the epigenetic effect of exposure to trauma is an increase in awareness and vigilance of the offspring then maybe (just maybe) what we are seeing here is a mechanism by which the offspring of a traumatised man are more likely to be more vigilant for signs of danger.

Looked at in that light - it is clear that the epigenetic mechanism is an effective and adaptive response to threat, and, in fact exactly the sort of outcome that Charles Darwin would have predicted, given a little more information.

We live in a very aggressive and threatening society. We are expected to ask only one thing when told to jump-- and that one thing is "How High?".

In his interview "Somatic Perspectives in Psychotherapy" Prof Stephen Porges highlights exactly this point:
http://stephenporges.com/index.php/scientific-articles/publicationss/28-somatic-perspectives-on-psychotherapy-interview


P2 answer 3
“Understanding the prerequisites for feeling safe is a critical issue in the modern world. Our culture takes a paradoxical perspective in defining safety. We focus on words and cognitive representations and minimise bodily responses and feelings to define safety.”


There is much more if you care to follow the link.

This is another quotable quote in the same vein

P3
“If we observe children in a classroom, we see a variety of behavioural features that illustrate that some children are safe and can sit comfortably in the same situations that trigger in other children the hypervigilant behaviours characterising a lack of safety.
Moreover, the children who are chronically monitoring the room for danger cues are the same children who have difficulties in learning, while those with the features of feeling safe can attend to the teacher and learn efficiently."


That is us ADHD and dyslexic types he is talking about.
Stephen Porges is regarded as the world's leading authority on the function of the autonomic nervous system and its implications for psychotherapy and trauma therapy in particular. His work is currently rewriting the way we doctors look at all illness:

[quote]
P2 answer 2
“Absolutely, the strategy of subjugating feelings and of the pre-eminence of cognitive processes follow a long tradition in Western culture of emphasising thought at the expense of feelings.”
Physical and mental illness may be a consequence of an adherence to Descartes' dictum. Thus not responding to the body's own responses and filtering visceral feelings, over time may contribute to illness by damping (appropriate) bi-directional feedback between brain and body.”
[quote]

My understanding is that this dynamic is a driver for ADHD- one of only two key ones.
My clinical observation after many years of experience is that this is also a driver for most stress related illness like hypertension and the rest of "Syndrome X"

My understanding is that this dynamic is a key driver for ADHD- and that also our sensitivity is a really good point. I like ADHD people and surround myself with ADDers wherever possible-- because we are sensitive, have kind hearts and are lateral thinking and funny-- but I know that sensitivity is a treacherous gift, one that is hard to handle.



So-- lets move away from the idea that there is a gene for "bipolar disorder"-- that is stupid. Why would such a gene not have been weeded out of our gene pool long ago?

Our forbears went through some major genetic bottlenecks-- and every one of them was a result of climate change--- not man made. The humans that walk the earth nowadays are the offspring of the survivors of that process-- the ones most sensitive and most able to detect subtle threats in the environment.

We have two alternatives here - we assume that there are "genes for disease" or we assume that every genetic variant that is a common part of the human genome is there because it confers survival advantage. We are a heterogenous population and that heterogeneity ensures that there will be ancestors in the future that will survive the next great environmental catastrophe ( the one that is unfolding in front of us right now).

The genes that are being discussed here are the genes for environmental sensitivity.

Since when is environmental INsensitivity an advantage?

Would you like an insensitive spouse?

The ONLY time when insensitivity is an advantage is when you are a slave, and your environment is toxic beyond belief and you cannot escape it, but must endure it.

That is the nature of the world we live in now- and to end on a political note-- that is why we have an obligation to master our dysfunction and get on with changing the world to suit our view of it. The neurotypical have run the show by default for way too long.

Amtram
04-26-14, 06:15 PM
Which CGI from non-promoter regions does that methylate?

Kunga Dorji
04-26-14, 06:17 PM
Now, I know that some people will come down on me like a ton of bricks for saying this, and for not referencing this last comment- but this is the open forum and floating ideas for wider consideration is a valuable exercise.
What follows here is NOT the main thesis of my argument -so please be aware of that and do not use my raising this intriguing possibility as an opportunity to attack the main thesis by association:

The idea that it is passed down in sperm may be the only one that materialist scientists can cope with. There is evidence that later generations of lab rats learn maze solving skills faster than their forbears did-- and Rupert Sheldrake argues that this is a morphic field effect. To me this may be a more plausible explanation than epigenetic ones.

Those who wish to can look up Sheldrake-- I have no intention of getting bogged down in argument over this one. I personally am confident that Sheldrakes theories are both parsimonious and have good ability to explain many phenomena that are otherwise difficult to understand.

Amtram
04-26-14, 06:25 PM
Parsimonious? How so? Because he does his research without spending any money?

Would this be Quantum Epigenetics?

Dizfriz
04-26-14, 06:58 PM
I looked up Rupert Sheldrake and he appears to be very much a "new age" type individual.

From his site
Memory need not be stored in material traces inside brains, which are more like TV receivers than video recorders, tuning into influences from the past. And biological inheritance need not all be coded in the genes, or in epigenetic modifications of the genes; much of it depends on morphic resonance from previous members of the species. Thus each individual inherits a collective memory from past members of the species, and also contributes to the collective memory, affecting other members of the species in the future. .
I am not saying he is wrong but I am not going to hold my breath until his ideas are validated scientifically as I have seen these kinds of thing come of go, almost always go.

Time will tell so I am more than willing to wait to see what happens but I do have my doubts.

Dizfriz

Kunga Dorji
04-27-14, 02:59 AM
I looked up Rupert Sheldrake and he appears to be very much a "new age" type individual.

From his site
.
I am not saying he is wrong but I am not going to hold my breath until his ideas are validated scientifically as I have seen these kinds of thing come of go, almost always go.

Time will tell so I am more than willing to wait to see what happens but I do have my doubts.

Dizfriz

Like I said,
the Sheldrake reference is a tangent to the main thrust of the argument-- which is really whether we choose to project a disease model over our interpretation of the meaning of genes or whether we choose to take a more naturalistic approach that understands that frequently occurring genetic or epigenetic traits (and even a morphic field model could be seen by the sophisticated thinker as an epigenetic approach-- as epi- genetic means "above the gene").

However- the observation that "he seems like a new age type" is a curious one.
What do you mean by that observation?
It must have meaning, otherwise it would not be there.
Personally, I see myself at very much the archetype of a new age thinker-- so I guess you must be offering him a compliment. :D

Regardless- I would be interested to see whether anyone else is prepared to consider whether we should view uncommon variants in the human genome as positives or negatives.

This is actually quite a serious question-- as any species with a very homogenous genome is at very high risk of extinction.

This is exemplified by the current fate of the Tasmanian Devil-- which may be exterminated by this infectious facial tumour- which is spreading right through the population of Tasmanian tigers because their genetic homogeneity means there are no individuals with any immunity to the virus that causes the cancer, and their genetic homogeneity means they all like fighting and bite each other on the face.

Like I said-- there are some very serious questions behind the concept of both genetic and neurodiversity.

meadd823
04-27-14, 04:46 AM
Regardless- I would be interested to see whether anyone else is prepared to consider whether we should view uncommon variants in the human genome as positives or negatives


Both - just as time of dark = night and time of light = day are to the measurement of a single day. A single day is not light or dark but both . . . so it is with all human traits.



New age pfft old age - our ancestors have known this for thousands of years It is our modern day assumptions that have forgotten this very basic of all truths.

Amtram
04-27-14, 11:17 AM
I looked up Rupert Sheldrake and he appears to be very much a "new age" type individual.

From his site
.
I am not saying he is wrong but I am not going to hold my breath until his ideas are validated scientifically as I have seen these kinds of thing come of go, almost always go.

Time will tell so I am more than willing to wait to see what happens but I do have my doubts.

Dizfriz

Time already has told. Sheldrake has very few ideas that are worth exploring, because they largely speculate on possibilities that are either unlikely or impossible.

Amtram
04-27-14, 11:20 AM
And if you're going to bring epigenetics into the conversation, it should be real epigenetics, not what people wish it were. Good points here from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: http://www.pnas.org/content/110/18/7101.full

Dizfriz
04-27-14, 03:55 PM
Like I said,
the Sheldrake reference is a tangent to the main thrust of the argument-- which is really whether we choose to project a disease model over our interpretation of the meaning of genes or whether we choose to take a more naturalistic approach that understands that frequently occurring genetic or epigenetic traits (and even a morphic field model could be seen by the sophisticated thinker as an epigenetic approach-- as epi- genetic means "above the gene").

However- the observation that "he seems like a new age type" is a curious one.
What do you mean by that observation?
Part of what I meant by new age is that Sheldrake has some rather unusual ideas. For example he seems to assert that if one rat learns to do a maze more efficiently then rats all over the world will show an improvement. He appears to be asserting some kind of communication between all individuals. This more or less fits in with the new age movement of the last half of the 20th century. One of the identifying characteristics of new age is to accept ideas as true because they resonate with the individual and with a minimal need of evidence.

I have seen many of these kind of ideas over the years and the great majority do not hold up but some do so I would not wish to reject any automatically but I will reserve the right to be skeptical and ask for evidence.

It must have meaning, otherwise it would not be there.
Personally, I see myself at very much the archetype of a new age thinker-- so I guess you must be offering him a compliment. :DOne thing for sure, no one can accuse you of following the herd. (grin)

Regardless- I would be interested to see whether anyone else is prepared to consider whether we should view uncommon variants in the human genome as positives or negatives. I would think it would be according to the environment the individual lives in that would determine it to be positive or negative.

This is actually quite a serious question-- as any species with a very homogenous genome is at very high risk of extinction. Agreed.

This is exemplified by the current fate of the Tasmanian Devil-- which may be exterminated by this infectious facial tumour- which is spreading right through the population of Tasmanian tigers because their genetic homogeneity means there are no individuals with any immunity to the virus that causes the cancer, and their genetic homogeneity means they all like fighting and bite each other on the face.

Like I said-- there are some very serious questions behind the concept of both genetic and neurodiversity.I would not disagree.

Dizfriz

Kunga Dorji
04-28-14, 09:15 AM
Part of what I meant by new age is that Sheldrake has some rather unusual ideas. For example he seems to assert that if one rat learns to do a maze more efficiently then rats all over the world will show an improvement.

You know-- the task of following up this assertion is one that is on my to do list. I do understand there is research to support it.


He appears to be asserting some kind of communication between all individuals. This more or less fits in with the new age movement of the last half of the 20th century. Well actually--no.
In Indian spirituality such talents are called Siddhis-- and they have been recognised for many thousands of years.
They are not new age-- not by any stretch of the imagination.
The new age philosophers have picked up on them-- but they are re-iterating an old theme.


I have seen many of these kind of ideas over the years and the great majority do not hold up but some do so I would not wish to reject any automatically but I will reserve the right to be skeptical and ask for evidence.
That is only proper.
For myself-- I have seen enough evidence.
I have been involved ina couple of events that seem only explicable by a mechanism such as quantum entanglement-- and I am confident of the facts of those events.
That is not scientific evidence that i can serve up on a plate to convince you-- but I have got to the point now where I must see those events convincingly explained away to cease accepting "paranormal" explanations for them. In the end none of this will be seen to be paranormal.
We must remember that our computers would have been deemed "witchcraft" only a very short time ago.


One thing for sure, no one can accuse you of following the herd. (grin)
Thankyou for the compliment :D
There are no prizes to be granted for polishing the brass knobs on the bandwagon.:D:D


I would think it would be according to the environment the individual lives in that would determine it to be positive or negative.
-- and that, my friend is EXACTLY the point I have been making all along.
Any genetic associations with ADHD in fact are the genetic risk factors for being unable to thrive in the emotionally toxic environment of modern Western society.

As the Roman Philosopher Seneca the Elder said:
Disease is a function of the place, not of the person
When talking about the emotionally toxic environment of modern Western society-- we must recall that in any one year about 25% of the US population qualifies for at least one DSM psychiatric diagnosis.

I don't know how you see it-- but to me that is the mark of a society that is going downhill fast, going the way of the dinosaurs.