University of Zurich Study Shows Trauma Can Be Reversed

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Parents who suffer from trauma and their children can gain enormous benefits from the study that’s been conducted by researchers from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. two of the world’s highest-ranking universities.

Published in nature.com, the study shows that symptoms related to a person’s trauma can be reversed. Moreover, the research team also found out that offspring of these people can benefit from an enriched environment, as well.

Undergoing a traumatic experience at a young age can deeply, very seriously influence a person’s behavior as he grows up. In fact, many of us who have endured too much anguish caused by certain experiences feel scarred for life. What most of us don’t know is that our trauma can be passed on to our children.

What causes trauma?

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, there are two categories of traumatic experiences: acute traumatic events and chronic traumatic situations.

Acute traumatic events are usually short-lived occurrences that cause a person to feel extreme fear or desperately helpless. Among this kind of traumatic events are sexual assault, physical assault, calamities like an earthquake, terrorist attack, and school campus shooting.

Meanwhile, domestic violence, repeated acts of sexual abuse, and wars are types of chronic traumatic situations.

How many of us experience traumatic conditions?

Recognizetrauma.org, publishes the following data which were gathered from various highly-reputable sources:

Domestic abuse. 60% of the adult population had been abused or suffered other forms of hardship within the family when they were young based on reports

Physical assault. 4 in every 10 children in the US had experienced this form of violence

Sexual abuse and assault. 2% of the children population had been victims

Bullying. More than 13% of young people reported about suffering from physical and emotional bullying

Exposure to crimes, violence, and abuses. More than 60% of the young population aged 17 and below had direct and indirect exposure

What are the dangerous consequences of trauma?

According further to the organization, persons who suffer from this condition are most likely to try to commit suicide, develop addiction to alcohol, become a smoker, use injectable drugs or anti-depressants, contract sexually-transmitted diseases, experience difficulties at work, and other negative behaviors.

This negative behavior can be passed to a child by his father through the sperm.

However, the new research has shown that there are ways for parents to reverse the effects of their traumatic childhood experience.

They can regain balance, and their offspring can inherit the positive behavior.

“Until now, only pharmacological drugs were known to correct epigenetic alterations in a consequential way for behavior. Now we know that this is also possible through environmental manipulations such as enriched conditions,”

states Isabelle Mansuy of the Laboratory of Neuroepigenetics, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, Brain Research Institute, Neuroscience Center Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Our physical body responds to our environment. When under stress, our body produces certain chemicals in response to it, in order to help us deal with the situation.

However, when the environmental factor is very traumatic, something in our body, including the brain, gets altered. Our behavior, as a result, becomes negative or imbalanced.

However, the research shows that a low-stress and healthy environment in which we find enjoyment and tranquility counteracts the effects of what had been a painful past. Our brain heals itself and corrects gene expression.

We then become healthy in mind and body again. Moreover, with this reversal through an enriched surroundings, we get to prevent transmission of our trauma to our children once we decide to have a family.

Lead author Katharina Gapp and Mansuy’s team used mice in the experiment. They studied the mice’s behavior under a controlled environment where the animals were exposed to traumatic stress.

Then they researched the effects of a positive environment on the mice, including their progeny. And they discovered yet another miracle of life through the wonders of the epigenome.

Rob Clark
 

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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