Genetic Effects of Maternal Care
July 30, 2018
A few weeks ago we looked at the epigenetic effects of maternal licking and grooming on animals with Dr. Moshe Szyf's research. This year in the Journal Science Dr. T. Bedrosian and colleagues looked at the effects of environmental inputs on the actual genetic code of a human's brain cells. These changes are unique to the brain and further provide evidence that the brain is plastic and adaptable.
The research was performed in mice, but instead of looking for epigenetic changes as Dr. Szyf did in his
research, Dr. Bedrosian looked at moveable elements of the genetic code called retrotransposons or mobile genetic elements.
"This study measured the accumulation of these mobile genetic elements in the brain as a consequence of maternal care. Mobile genetic elements accumulated in specific regions of the brains of mouse pups if the pups had poor maternal care. If a pup was born to a mother animal that provided low maternal care, but raised by a mother animal that provided high maternal care that accumulation of mobile genetic elements was eliminated. This supported the idea that the accumulation of genetic elements was due to the care provided by the mothers rather than some inherited difference. Most of the excess was found in the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory, but not in other regions of the brain, nor in a completely different organ like the heart, suggesting a very specific impact on brain mosaicism." (Scientific American Mind 2018)
I think that these research studies will find a common linkage over time. The mammalian brain is uniquely set up to change based on the environmental inputs that it receives. Protecting it via supplying positive inputs is the key to success.
Think positive, surround yourself with positive people and be a little polyannaish,