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Genes determine traces that stress leaves behind on brains

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posted on Aug, 20 2014 @ 12:33 AM
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Genes determine traces that stress leaves behind on brains


Our individual genetic make-up determines the effect that stress has on our emotional centres. These are the findings of a group of researchers from the MedUni Vienna. Not every individual reacts in the same way to life events that produce the same degree of stress. Some grow as a result of the crisis, whereas others break down and fall ill, for example with depression. The outcome is determined by a complex interaction between depression gene versions and environmental factors.

The Vienna research group, together with international cooperation partners, have demonstrated that there are interactions between stressful life events and certain risk gene variants that subsequently change the volume of the hippocampus forever.

The hippocampus is a switching station in the processing of emotions and acts like a central interface when dealing with stress. It is known to react very sensitively to stress. In situations of stress that are interpreted as a physical danger ('distress'), it shrinks in size, which is a phenomenon observed commonly in patients with depression and one which is responsible for some of their clinical symptoms. By contrast, positive stress ('eustress'), of the kind that can occur in emotionally exciting social situations can actually cause the hippocampus to increase in size.

According to the results of the study, just how stressful life events impact on the size of the hippocampus depends on more than just environmental factors. There are genes that determine whether the same life event causes an increase or decrease in the volume of the hippocampus, and which therefore defines whether the stress is good or bad for our brain. The more risk genes an individual has, the more negative an impact the "life events" have on the size of the hippocampus. Where there are no or only a few risk genes, this life event can actually have a positive effect.

Examining life crises

As part of the study, carried out at the University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (led by Siegfried Kasper), the study team obtained quantitative information from healthy test subjects about stressful life events, such as deaths in the family, divorce, unemployment, financial losses, relocations, serious illnesses or accidents.


Sorry, didn't mean to post this before I had put it all together.

Interesting article. I know some people like to argue that depression is just someone being selfish but that isn't true. It's a legit medical condition caused by something going on in the human brain, usually a chemical imbalance.

This study helps to show those who think it is just "all in the person's head" so to speak, that it isn't.
edit on 20-8-2014 by knoledgeispower because: accidentally posted before composing

edit on 20-8-2014 by knoledgeispower because: (no reason given)

edit on 20-8-2014 by knoledgeispower because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 20 2014 @ 12:41 AM
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I had never heard that one before. Depression is selfish? Wowsers!!

Good article. I knew depression was a chemistry issue, now it seems to be a wiring issue as well.



posted on Aug, 20 2014 @ 12:52 AM
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originally posted by: Iamthatbish
I had never heard that one before. Depression is selfish? Wowsers!!

Good article. I knew depression was a chemistry issue, now it seems to be a wiring issue as well.


I have a friend who suffers with depression & her friends & family always tell her that it is just in her head. They say she is just being selfish & should just get over it.

I've heard similar things about Robin Williams



posted on Aug, 20 2014 @ 12:56 AM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower

The hippocampus is also responsible for memoties, both short-term and long-term. I wonder if depression can be linked to Amnesia and/or Alzheimer's disease.

That also means various drugs would cause various shifts in volume of the hippocampus, depending on whether it is a depressant or a stimulant.



posted on Aug, 20 2014 @ 01:10 AM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower
What is a risk gene?


edit on 20-8-2014 by Briefcase because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 20 2014 @ 01:51 AM
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This I've experienced for myself. I think the technical term is brain fog. Its hella frustrating. If you've never been through depression its hard to describe how the symptoms cause you to just be overwhelmed.

a reply to: Lynk3



posted on Aug, 20 2014 @ 09:14 AM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower

...I know some people like to argue that depression is just someone being selfish but that isn't true. It's a legit medical condition caused by something going on in the human brain, usually a chemical imbalance.


We know there are physical causes for "mental" conditions - that was proved long ago. The big question that the Eugenics crowd keeps asking is, "Is it genetic (fixed in the DNA) or epigenetic (resulting from environmental factors)?" ....This article is pushing the "It's genetic" paradigm, despite the fact that all the current and cutting edge research shows clearly that epigenetic factors turn genes off and on, and override programming after proteins are produced.



So in fact, the environment (including stress) determines when, if and how genes affect the brain.
















edit on 20/8/14 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

edit on 20/8/14 by soficrow because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 22 2014 @ 12:15 PM
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a reply to: Iamthatbish

I still do suffer from it. Not as severely as before, but sometimes I'm a puppet to my own strings, just dangling, not able to control myself.



posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 10:25 AM
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What I got from the article is :

1) if you are depressed hipocampus will shrink.
2)If you are happy hipocampus will enlarge.


So, if you can willpower out of the depression and start being happy again hipocampus gets better again (BOOOOOM!)

Technically speaking then the "you should get over it" advice is not all that wrong.
Easier said than done I know, impossible? Nope.



posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 10:57 AM
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a reply to: soficrow

I think it's a combination of both. Just like with most things, Nature vs Nurture, I think it is both genetic & epigenetic.

For some it might be more epigenetic than genetic & for others, more genetic than epigenetic
edit on 25-8-2014 by knoledgeispower because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 11:58 AM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower

Few diseases involve actual genetic mutations, although some do. The rest are epigenetic - a fact only industry, eugenicists and molecular biologists with published textbooks deny. The nature-nurture debate is over - except for the players who are positioning to avoid lawsuits or hang on to their tenure and royalties.



posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 05:49 PM
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originally posted by: soficrow
a reply to: knoledgeispower

Few diseases involve actual genetic mutations, although some do. The rest are epigenetic - a fact only industry, eugenicists and molecular biologists with published textbooks deny. The nature-nurture debate is over - except for the players who are positioning to avoid lawsuits or hang on to their tenure and royalties.


The average person gets cancer 4 times in their life & they never know it because their body can properly fight it off. For those who can't fight it off, they get cancer. I'm not sure if that would be genetic, epigenetic or a mix in that case.


Out of curiosity, in the nature vs nurture debate, who won? I didn't know it had ended.



posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 06:02 PM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower

Environmental factors (epigenetics) turn genes off and on, and also, override genetic programming (change the proteins) after (the genetically coded) proteins are produced. ...This is how ancient genes resurface, and also how new adaptations occur without altering the genetic code. It's a truly amazing system - think of epigenetics as a system allowing for rapid response to environmental change (and think of 'environment' in the nano sense, not just the macro one).

ETA Also note:

Even "genetic testing" does NOT test DNA alone - "gene products" (proteins) are tested too, without determining whether those proteins result from epigenetic effects or unmodified genetic programming.

What is genetic testing?
Genetic tests look for alterations in a person's genes or changes in the level or structure of key proteins coded for by specific genes.


In their 2014 survey of scientists, many respondents wrote that the familiar distinction between nature and nurture has outlived its usefulness, and should be retired. One reason is the explosion of work in the field of epigenetics. Scientists believe that there is a long and circuitous route, with many feedback loops, from a particular set of genes to a feature of the adult organism.









edit on 25/8/14 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

edit on 25/8/14 by soficrow because: (no reason given)




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