UW-Madison study affirms trauma creates genetic change that endures

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Neglect, abuse, violence and trauma endured early in life can ripple directly into a child’s molecular structure and distort their DNA, according to a new study this week from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.The genetic changes leave them biologically more vulnerable in later life to psychiatric afflictions like depression, anxiety, mood disorders and high-risk behavior like drug abuse, the researchers found.“We may be seeing the mechanism via which childhood stress can cause social or behavioral problems,” said Leslie Seltzer, a UW-Madison researcher and one of the study’s lead authors.The study amounts to the latest validation to emerge in the last 10 years that childhood trauma often acts as the root cause of mental illness, addiction, alcoholism, incarceration, homelessness and even suicide. In Milwaukee, which hosts a crippling epidemic of childhood trauma, the drumbeat of new research has prompted the creation of a new collaborative effort to address the city’s widespread trauma and its aftereffects.Source: UW-Madison study affirms trauma creates genetic change that endures

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