Sunday February 18, 2018

Anxiety and depression genetic, says research

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New York: Anxious parents are more likely to have anxious children, a study on rhesus monkeys has revealed. It added that the risk of developing anxiety and depression is passed from parents to children.

An over-active brain circuit involving three brain areas inherited from generation to generation may set the stage for developing anxiety and depressive disorders, said the researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Over-activity of these three brain regions are inherited brain alterations that are directly linked to the later life risk to develop anxiety and depression,” said senior study author Ned Kalin.

The findings showed that elevated activity in the brain areas is likely involved in mediating the in-born risk for extreme anxiety and anxious temperament that can be observed in early childhood.

Monkeys, like humans, can be temperamentally anxious and pass their anxiety-related genes on to the next generation.

By studying nearly 600 young rhesus monkeys, the team found that about 35 percent of variation in anxiety-like tendencies is explained by family history.

To a certain extent, anxiety can provide an evolutionary advantage because it helps an individual recognise and avoid danger.

“But when the circuits are over-active, it becomes a problem and can result in anxiety and depressive disorders,” Kalin explained.

Surprisingly, the study found that it was the function of brain structures – and not their size – that was responsible for the genetic transfer of an anxious temperament.

“Now that we know where to look, we can develop a better understanding of the molecular alterations that give rise to anxiety-related brain function,” Kalin noted.

The findings are a big step in understanding the neural underpinnings of inherited anxiety and begins to give scientists more selective targets for treatment.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

(IANS)

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Father’s stress linked to kids’ brain development

The researchers noted that by learning more about links between a father's exposure to stress and the risks of disease for his kid, we can better understand, detect, and prevent these disorders

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The researchers also noted that by learning more about links between a father's exposure to stress and the risks of disease for his kid.
The researchers also noted that by learning more about links between a father's exposure to stress and the risks of disease for his kid. Wikimedia Commons
  • According to the researchers, the stress changes the father’s sperm which can then alter the brain development of the child
  • Research found that the father’s sperm showed changes in a genetic material known as microRNA

Fathers, take note! Taking too much stress may affect the brain development of your kids, a new study has claimed.

According to the researchers, the stress changes the father’s sperm which can then alter the brain development of the child.

This new research provides a much better understanding of the key role that fathers play in the brain development of their kids, the researchers said.

Previously, the researchers including Tracy Bale at the University of Maryland School found that adult male mice, experiencing chronic periods of mild stress, have offspring with a reduced response to stress; changes in stress reactivity have been linked to some neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and PTSD.

Also Read: Surgical Infections More Common in Low-Income Countries, Study Finds

They isolated the mechanism of the reduced response; they found that the father’s sperm showed changes in a genetic material known as microRNA.

MicroRNA are important because they play a key role in which genes become functional proteins.

According to the researchers, the stress changes the father's sperm which can then alter the brain development of the child.
According to the researchers, the stress changes the father’s sperm which can then alter the brain development of the child. Wikimedia Commons

Now, the researchers have unravelled new details about these microRNA changes.

In the male reproductive tract, the caput epididymis, the structure where sperm matures, releases tiny vesicles packed with microRNA that can fuse with sperm to change its cargo delivered to the egg, they said.

The caput epididymis responded to the father’s stress by altering the content of these vesicles, the researchers added.

Also Read: Girls may inherit ovarian cancer gene from fathers

The result of the study, presented at AAAS 2018 annual meeting in Austin, suggests that even mild environmental challenges can have a significant impact on the development and potentially the health of future offspring.

The researchers also noted that by learning more about links between a father’s exposure to stress and the risks of disease for his kid, we can better understand, detect, and prevent these disorders. (IANS)