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Lecture 2

PSYC23H3 Lecture 2: ACEs and Epigenetics

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David Haley

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PSYC23: Developmental Psychobiology Clara Rebello PSYC23 Lecture 2: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Epigenetics ACEs video: How Childhood Trauma Can Make You A Sick Adult o o Life experiences protected by guilt, shame, and social taboos against these experiences can cause extreme emotional, cognitive, and genetic chances throughout half a century of ones life o Childhood sexual abuse can cause adult obesity, dysfunctional households and relationships, etc. o Big portion of children have experienced 6+ ACEs Very common We dont realize this because we are not aware of this topic o The power of maternalchild relationship is enormous, especially in the first year of the childs life o Coping devices like drinking alcohol may have immediate relaxing effects But chronic consumption can lead to destructive behaviour o Chronic major unrelieved stress Brain and central nervous system This can produce the release of proinflammatory chemicals in the body and can suppress immune system function The only realistic intervention is primary prevention ACEs vs. Genes o How do the animal models allow us to test whether its the ACEs vs. the Genes? Rats and monkeys Unethical to perform research on this area on humans Lots of genetic overlap between species Easier to manipulate conditions in animal research o What kind of human studies would be necessary to make this same determination? o What kind of ethical issues would be involved? Distress and harm Romanian orphans o Tremendous amount of institutional neglect o Could manipulate and control how much adversity the orphan children received o Can high quality foster care reverse the effects from the institution? o Children who lived in a Romanian orphanage beyond age 2 developed weaker brains than those who left earlier o Kids that were institutionalized had much less electrical activity on the surface of their brains o Here, the answer to gene vs. adversity is adversity Charles Nelson o Individuality is the product or both biological inheritance and personal experience o Genes provide the basic architecture for brain development but experience then tweaks
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