BACKGROUND: On May 12, 2008, an earthquake with a power of 8.0 M on the Richter scale occurred in the Wenchuan County of Sichuan Province in southwest China, which was unprecedented in magnitude and aftermath. Approximately 70,000 people were killed and nearly 20,000 went missing. The earthquake caused a wide number of mental and physical health outcomes among survivors, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was one of the most commonly studied.
BACKGROUND: Among a group of therapies collectively known as energy psychology (EP), emotional freedom techniques (EFT) is the most widely practiced. Clinical EFT is an evidence-based practice combining elements of cognitive and exposure therapies with the manual stimulation of acupuncture points (acupoints). Lacking is a recent quantitative meta-analysis that enhances understanding of the variability and clinical significance of outcomes after clinical EFT treatment in reducing depression.
Epigenetic modifications in response to traumatic experience and stress are emerging as important factors in the long-term biological trajectories leading to stress-related psychiatric disorders, reflecting both environmental influences as well as individual genetic predisposition. In particular, recent evidence on DNA methylation changes within distinct genes and pathways but also on a genome-wide level provides new insights into the pathophysiology of stress related psychiatric disorders.
Intergenerational effects of trauma have been observed clinically in a wide range of populations, and parental PTSD has been associated with an increased risk for psychopathology in offspring. In studies of Holocaust survivor offspring, parental PTSD, and particularly maternal PTSD, has been associated with increased risk for PTSD, low basal urinary cortisol excretion and enhanced cortisol suppression in response to dexamethasone.
BACKGROUND: Enhanced glucocorticoid receptor (GR) sensitivity is present in people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the molecular mechanisms of GR sensitivity are not understood. Epigenetic factors have emerged as one potential mechanism that account for how trauma exposure leads to sustained PTSD symptoms given that PTSD develops in only a subset of trauma survivors.
The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry: The Official Journal of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry
OBJECTIVES: Transmission of parental post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to offspring might be explained by transmission of epigenetic processes such as methylation status of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) gene (NR3C1).
The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Recent evidence suggests that altered expression and epigenetic modification of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) are related to the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The underlying mechanisms, however, remain unknown. Because glucocorticoid receptor signaling is known to regulate emotional memory processes, particularly in men, epigenetic modifications of NR3C1 might affect the strength of traumatic memories.
Several studies have reported an association between traumatic stress and telomere length suggesting that traumatic stress has an impact on ageing at the cellular level. A newly derived tool provides an additional means to investigate cellular ageing by estimating epigenetic age based on DNA methylation profiles. We therefore hypothesise that in a longitudinal study of traumatic stress both indicators of cellular ageing will show increased ageing.
Epigenetics, broadly defined as the regulation of gene expression without alteration of the genome, has become a field of tremendous interest in neuroscience, neurology, and psychiatry. This research has rapidly changed the way researchers think about brain function. Exciting epigenetic discoveries have been found in addiction, early life stress, neurodegeneration, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.
Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
Reported exposure to traumatic event is relatively common within the general population (40-90%), but only a fraction of individuals will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Indeed, the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is estimated to range between 7% and 12%. The factors influencing risk or resilience to PTSD after exposure to traumatic events are likely both environmental, such as type, timing, and extent of trauma, and genetic. Recently, epigenetic mechanisms have been implicated in mediating altered risk for PTSD as they can reflect both genetic and environmental influences.