Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) widely occurs among victims or witness of disasters. With flashbacks, hyperarousal, and avoidance being the typical symptoms, PTSD became a focus of psychological research. The earthquake in Wenchuan, China, on May 12, 2008, was without precedent in magnitude and aftermath and caused huge damage, which drew scientists' attention to mental health of the survivors.
This mini-review describes recent discoveries demonstrating that experience can drive the production of epigenetic marks in the adult nervous system and that the experience-dependent regulation of epigenetic molecular mechanisms in the mature central nervous system participates in the control of gene transcription underlying the formation of long-term memories. In the mammalian experimental systems investigated thus far, epigenetic mechanisms have been linked to associative fear conditioning, extinction of learned fear, and hippocampus-dependent spatial memory formation.
During the past two decades, research concerned with the aetiology of psychopathology has generally progressed along two separate paths: investigations that have characterised the roles played by environmental determinants such as childhood adversity in the development of psychopathology, and those that have focused on neurobiological processes involving genetic and intracellular pathways.
This mini-review refers to recent findings on psychobiological long-term consequences of childhood trauma and adverse living conditions. The continuum of trauma-provoked aftermath reaches from healthy adaptation with high resilience, to severe maladjustment with co-occurring psychiatric and physical pathologies in children, adolescents and adults. There is increasing evidence of a strong interconnectivity between genetic dispositions, epigenetic processes, stress-related hormonal systems and immune parameters in all forms of (mal)-adjustment to adverse living conditions.
The interaction of genetic and environmental factors may affect the course and development of psychotic disorders. We examined whether the effects of childhood trauma on cognition and symptoms in schizophrenia were moderated by the Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val(158)Met polymorphism, a common genetic variant known to affect cognition and prefrontal dopamine levels. Participants were 429 schizophrenia/schizoaffective cases from the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank (ASRB).
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry
BACKGROUND: Adult onset primary torsion dystonia (AOPTD) is a poorly penetrant autosomal dominant disorder; most gene carriers are non-manifesting despite having reached an adequate age for penetrance. It is hypothesised that genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors may exert protective or deleterious effects on penetrance of AOPTD. By examining environmental exposure history in cervical dystonia patients and their similarly aged unaffected siblings we aimed to determine the role of previous environmental exposures in relation to disease penetrance.
The impact of stress on human health is a topic of wide-spread relevance and one that is particularly amenable to multidisciplinary investigation. Stress impacts both our psychological and physical health and, thus, may leave evidence on our psyche, our physical body and our genome. We are interested in the effect of extreme stressors, such as war, on health from the perspective of long-term and multigenerational effects. We integrate sociocultural, biological, and epigenetic data from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
INTRODUCTION: Schizophrenia is a major psychiatric disorder that afflicts about 1% of the world's population, falling into the top 10 medical disorders causing disability. Existing therapeutic strategies have had limited success; they have poor effects on core cognitive impairment and long-term disability. They are also burdened by relevant side effects. Although new antipsychotic medications have been launched in the past decades, there has been a general lack of significant innovation over the past 60 years.