DNA Responses to Childhood Trauma Offer Clues on Which Children Will Have Long-Term Health Issues as Adults
New research from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Pharmacy brings the medical community closer to identifying children with the highest need for treatment and intervention following traumatic events. The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, found that epigenetic traces of childhood trauma could be used as biomarkers to predict the risk of depression, nicotine dependence, alcohol use disorder and other health issues in people nearly 17 years later. “If two children are exposed to the same traumatic event, one may experience much more severe consequences than the other as an adult,” said Edwin van den Oord, Ph.D., professor and director of the Center for Biomarker Research & Precision Medicine at the VCU School of Pharmacy, who was the lead author of the study. “Our biology can sometimes respond to trauma, and by looking at DNA responses associated with trauma, we’ve developed a novel tool for predicting long-term health risks.”
A therapy found to improve cognitive function in patients with Down syndrome
Scientists have tested the efficacy of GnRH injection therapy in order to improve the cognitive functions of a small group of patients with Down syndrome. First the scientists revealed a dysfunction of the GnRH neurons in an animal model of Down syndrome and its impacts on the cognitive function impairment associated with the condition. Then a pilot study testing GnRH pulsatile injection therapy was conducted in seven patients. The results were promising: the therapy led to improved cognitive function and brain connectivity.
Remote learning might have helped protect teenagers’ sense of community during COVID-19 school closures
Climate anxiety an important driver for climate action – new study
The first-ever detailed study of climate anxiety among the UK adult population suggests that whilst rates are currently low, people’s fears about the future of the planet might be an important trigger for action when it comes to adapting our high-carbon lifestyles to become more environmentally friendly. Interest in climate or eco-anxiety – characterised by the American Psychological Association as the chronic fear of environmental doom that comes from observing the impacts of climate change – has risen over recent years. A high-profile University of Bath study in 2021 found it to be particularly prevalent among young people right across the world. This latest study, led by a team from the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations, also based at the University of Bath, sought the views of 1,338 UK adults over two time points (in 2020 and 2022) to delve deeper into the prevalence of climate anxiety, factors that predict it, and whether it could predict individual behavioural changes and climate action. Despite over three-quarters of the UK public saying they are worried about climate change, only 4.6% of the public reported experiencing climate anxiety in 2022 (only fractionally higher than in 2020, when 4% reported this). Younger people and those with higher generalised anxiety were more likely to experience eco-anxiety.