Bullying by Childhood Peers Leaves a Trace That Can Change the Expression of a Gene Linked to Mood, Officials: 31 people fired in Army daycare scandal
December 20, 2012 Comments Off on Bullying by Childhood Peers Leaves a Trace That Can Change the Expression of a Gene Linked to Mood, Officials: 31 people fired in Army daycare scandal
Bullying by Childhood Peers Leaves a Trace That Can Change the Expression of a Gene Linked to Mood
Dec. 18, 2012 — A recent study by a researcher at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) at the Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine and professor at the Université de Montréal suggests that bullying by peers changes the structure surrounding a gene involved in regulating mood, making victims more vulnerable to mental health problems as they age.
The study published in the journal Psychological Medicine seeks to better understand the mechanisms that explain how difficult experiences disrupt our response to stressful situations. “Many people think that our genes are immutable; however this study suggests that environment, even the social environment, can affect their functioning. This is particularly the case for victimization experiences in childhood, which change not only our stress response but also the functioning of genes involved in mood regulation,” says Isabelle Ouellet-Morin, lead author of the study.
A previous study by Ouellet-Morin, conducted at the Institute of Psychiatry in London (UK), showed that bullied children secrete less cortisol — the stress hormone — but had more problems with social interaction and aggressive behaviour. The present study indicates that the reduction of cortisol, which occurs around the age of 12, is preceded two years earlier by a change in the structure surrounding a gene (SERT) that regulates serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation and depression….
Increased serotonin transporter gene (SERT) DNA methylation is associated with bullying victimization and blunted cortisol response to stress in childhood: a longitudinal study of discordant monozygotic twins. Ouellet-Morin, C. C. Y. Wong, A. Danese, C. M. Pariante, A. S. Papadopoulos, J. Mill, L. Arseneault. Psychological Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1017/S0033291712002784
Increased serotonin transporter gene (SERT) DNA methylation is associated with bullying victimization and blunted cortisol response to stress in childhood: a longitudinal study of discordant monozygotic twins
Childhood adverse experiences are known to induce persistent changes in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity to stress. However, the mechanisms by which these experiences shape the neuroendocrine response to stress remain unclear.
We tested whether bullying victimization influenced serotonin transporter gene (SERT) DNA methylation using a discordant monozygotic (MZ) twin design. A subsample of 28 MZ twin pairs discordant for bullying victimization, with data on cortisol and DNA methylation, were identified in the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative 1994–1995 cohort of families with twins….
Our study extends findings drawn from animal models, supports the hypothesis that early-life stress modifies DNA methylation at a specific cytosine–phosphate–guanine (CpG) site in the SERT promoter and HPA functioning and suggests that these two systems may be functionally associated.
Officials: 31 people fired in Army daycare scandal
By LOLITA C. BALDOR | Associated Press 12/19/12
WASHINGTON (AP) — At least 31 people were fired from two Army day care centers at Fort Myer, Va., last week after officials scrutinized their backgrounds and found criminal convictions ranging from fourth-degree sexual assault and drug use to other assaults, a defense official said Wednesday….
According to officials, one person was charged with four counts of assault on children and the other was charged with five counts of assault. The alleged actions included hitting, grabbing or pushing the children. In the days after the arrests, the two administrators were dismissed, others were brought in and town hall meetings took place with parents.