Recent studies show that childhood trauma may lead to DNA alterations that can be passed down to future generations.
This study was conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health in partnership with Helsinki University of Finland and Uppsala University of Sweden.
The study was conducted on 2 different groups of children, one whose parents left Finland as children during World War II and the other whose parents stayed back. They were distinctly different from each other and even their children showed many differences.
Though it might seem that those who remained in Finland suffered more traumas but in reality the ones who left endured more psychological stress because of separation from families, strange environment and culture.
The study showed that daughters born to women who were evacuated were 4 times more likely to be hospitalized due to mental health issues than the ones whose mother remained.
However there’s not much difference in the mental health of sons born to women who were evacuated. Researchers don’t know whether the separate results have any signification.
It’s still not known whether the effects of the trauma can be passed down to granddaughters and further future generations.
The cause for such changes can be parenting techniques. Certain choices made by trauma victims to protect their children from what they faced might have led to this.
Another cause can be the new scientific branch of study called epigenetics. This deal with hoe culture, environment and lifestyle can affect our DNA.
Epigenetic inheritance involves the passing of trauma effects down the generations. Epigenetics is valid as we can see from the difference in health between black Americans and other races.
A particular study also showed how extreme stress, low birth weight rate and high rates of infant mortality could all be results of racial discrimination for centuries that had an impact on genetic level.
While there’s still a lot to explore, policy makers can learn from this to understand what needs to be done regarding trauma victims.
People suffering from mental health issues can also check their family tree to find the cause of the problem.
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