ABSTRACT: Animal models of early postnatal mother–infant interactions have highlighted the importance of tactile contact for biobehavioral outcomes via the modification of DNA methylation (DNAm). The role of normative variation in contact in early human development has yet to be explored. In an effort to translate the animal work on tactile contact to humans, we applied a naturalistic daily diary strategy to assess the link between maternal contact with infants and epigenetic signatures in children 4–5 years later, with respect to multiple levels of child-level factors, including genetic variation and infant distress. We first investigated DNAm at four candidate genes: the glucocorticoid receptor gene, nuclear receptor subfamily 3, group C, member 1 (NR3C1), μ-opioid receptor M1 (OPRM1) and oxytocin receptor (OXTR; related to the neurobiology of social bonds), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF; involved in postnatal plasticity). Although no candidate gene DNAm sites significantly associated with early postnatal contact, when we next examined DNAm across the genome, differentially methylated regions were identified between high and low contact groups. Using a different application of epigenomic information, we also quantified epigenetic age, and report that for infants who received low contact from caregivers, greater infant distress was associated with younger epigenetic age. These results suggested that early postnatal contact has lasting associations with child biology.
It seems your baby would be better off being born in a barn than a hospital.
CHILDHOOD TRAUMA ASSOCIATED WITH SHORT LEUKOCYTE TELOMERE LENGTH IN POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
As predicted, participants with PTSD had shorter age-adjusted LTL than controls. Exposure to childhood trauma was also associated with short LTL. In fact, childhood trauma appeared to account for the PTSD group difference in LTL; only participants with PTSD and exposure to multiple categories of childhood trauma had significantly shorter LTL than controls.
Childhood trauma is associated with short LTL in individuals with PTSD. Chronic exposure to the psychobiological sequelae of childhood trauma could increase risk for PTSD and short LTL. Thus, the lasting psychological impact of exposure to trauma in childhood may be accompanied by equally enduring changes at the molecular level….
How about a little neonatal asphyxiation to shorten your baby’s telomeres?
… What we have learned from the programs of research on the developmental origins of violence, NICHD 1966-1980, are the following:
1. The single most important cause of violent behavior, the developmental depression that precedes it, and the later drug/alcohol abuse that is used to treat the emotional pain that underlies the rage of uncontrolled violence is the failure of physical affectional bonding in the maternal-infant relationship; the paternal-child relationship and the failure of adolescent sexual affectional bonding. In short, it is the failure of physical love in human relationships that begins with the failure of that physical love when the infant is not permitted to bond with the body of its mother which then begins the infant’s journey of depression, rage, hatred and violence for not being loved. Thus, the peril of infant and child day care centers which impedes, if not prevents, the affectional bonding between mother and her infant/child and, thus, all later affectional bonds.
2. Experimental studies of isolation-reared infant monkeys documented that maternal-infant separation constitutes a specific form of somatosensory affectional deprivation (SAD) that involves the somesthetic (touch) and vestibular-cerebellar (movement) sensory systems and results in a variety of abnormalities of brain development that includes structural, neurochemical and neuroelectrical abnormalities. It is these brain abnormalities that mediate the depression, chronic stimulus seeking behaviors, including self-mutilation, and pathologic violence against other animals that are invariably observed consequent to maternal-social deprivation or isolation rearing.
3. Building upon the insights from these experimental animal studies, I conducted cross-cultural studies on 49 primitive cultures distributed throughout the world and was able to predict with 100% accuracy the peaceful and violent nature of these 49 primitive cultures from two predictor variables: a) the degree of physical affectional bonding in the maternal-infant relationship; and b) whether premarital adolescent sex was permitted or punished. There were 29 peaceful and 20 violent cultures in this study sample. There is no other theory or data base that I am aware of that can provide such a prediction of peaceful or violent behaviors and that can relate such findings to specific sensory processes and brain mechanisms of the individual.
4. It is the neuronal systems of the brain which mediate pleasure that regulate and control depression, violence and drug/alcohol abuse and addiction. This control and regulation is provided through the mechanisms of reciprocal inhibition. When the neuronal pleasure circuits of the brain are damaged by SAD-DNS (Somatosensory Affectional Deprivation/Denervation Supersensitivity) then they cannot perform their normative role of regulation and inhibition of those neuronal circuits that mediate depression and violent behaviors.
5. Depressive and Violent Behaviors cannot be understood nor prevented until we understand the neurobiological and neuropsychological role of physical pleasure that must be integrated into those higher brain structures that mediate consciousness and those transcendental states of human spirituality that we call love. Non-integrated pleasure leads to sexual violence and sado-masochism–a consequence of SAD-DNS.
6. Physical affectional pleasure is not only moral but is morally necessary if we are to become moral and spiritual persons in our common bond with humanity. The understanding of the nature of human love is a proper subject for scientific study and such studies are essential if human violence is to be understood and prevented….