Can the legacy of 'trauma' pass from one generation to another? | Pakistani neuroscientist's interesting findings
To further their study, researchers took blood from traumatized mice and injected it into regular mice.
Pakistani neuroscientist Dr. Ali Jawaid researched the effects of trauma with fellow researchers. During his work, he identified that metabolic factors are responsible for transmitting the effects of traumatic experiences from parents to children.
Previously, Dr. Jawaid demonstrated that parents\’ early life\’s adverse exposures could lead to many psychological and metabolic perturbations in children. Now the neuroscientist has found concrete evidence of this in the form of metabolites. Metabolites are certain chemicals found in parents\’ blood; these are the main culprit behind the transmission of these trauma effects.
The first phase of the trauma transmission study
The first phase of the study was conducted in Switzerland on a mouse model where newly born pups were separated from their mothers and were raised by stressed mothers. Researchers found that this traumatic exposure affected many metabolites, especially fatty acids in the blood.
They also found that these altered fatty acids made their way to the sperm cells and changed nuclear receptors\’ activity, an essential regulator of gene expression. Therefore, when the offspring were born, it showcased an altered metabolic makeup and responded atypically to periods of high sugar intake or starvation.
To further their study, researchers took blood from traumatized mice and injected it into regular mice. The experiment concluded that these chemicals in the blood are mediators of this unique form of \’trauma transmission\’ from parents to children, as the regular mice recapitulated the effects of trauma.
What makes the findings of this study significant to humans?
The relevance of the findings makes this study significant to humans. The cases of childhood adversity portrayed in the mouse model are also similar to that of human experiences.
The final phase of the trauma transmission study
Dr. Ali Jawaid organized the final phase of the research, during which children were evaluated in Pakistan. In this regard, Dr. Jawaid, along with fellow researchers, visited many SOS Children\’s Villages.
While studying the live effects, the research team found similar chemical changes in the blood of children who had suffered early life trauma in the form of paternal demise and maternal separation.
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