Tag Archives: Prenatal Stress

Dartmouth College study: Humans and others exposed to prenatal stress have high stress levels after birth

15 Apr

Moi reported about the effect stress has on genes in Penn State study: Stress alters children’s genomes https://drwilda.com/2014/04/08/penn-state-study-stress-alters-childrens-genomes/ A Tulane Medical School study finds that family violence or trauma alters a child’s genomes.

Science Daily reported in the article, Family violence leaves genetic imprint on children:

A new Tulane University School of Medicine study finds that the more fractured families are by domestic violence or trauma, the more likely that children will bear the scars down to their DNA.
Researchers discovered that children in homes affected by domestic violence, suicide or the incarceration of a family member have significantly shorter telomeres, which is a cellular marker of aging, than those in stable households. The findings are published online in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that keep them from shrinking when cells replicate. Shorter telomeres are linked to higher risks for heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, diabetes, mental illness and poor health outcomes in adulthood. Researchers took genetic samples from 80 children ages 5 to 15 in New Orleans and interviewed parents about their home environments and exposures to adverse life events….
The study found that gender moderated the impact of family instability. Traumatic family events were more detrimental to young girls as they were more likely to have shortened telomeres. There was also a surprising protective effect for boys: mothers who had achieved a higher level of education had a positive association with telomere length, but only in boys under 10.
Ultimately, the study suggests that the home environment is an important intervention target to reduce the biological impacts of adversity in the lives of young children, Drury said. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102505.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29&utm_content=FaceBook

See, https://drwilda.com/tag/stress/

Science Daily reported in Humans and others exposed to prenatal stress have high stress levels after birth:

Vertebrate species, including humans, exposed to stress prenatally tend to have higher stress hormones after birth, according to a new Dartmouth-led study published in Scientific Reports. While previous research has reported examples of maternal stress experience predicting offspring stress hormones in different species, this study is the first to empirically demonstrate the impact of prenatal stress on offspring stress hormone levels using data from all known studies across vertebrates.
Through a meta-analysis of 114 results from a total of 39 observational and experimental studies across 14 vertebrate species, including birds, snakes, sheep and humans, the study examines the impact of prenatal exposure to maternal stress on offspring. The researchers analyzed the role of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA)-axis, the stress physiological system that is shared across all vertebrates, which ultimately, results in the production of stress hormones known as “glucocorticoids.” The HPA-axis is the hormonal system responsible for mobilizing an animal’s stress response. Offspring exposed prenatally to maternal stress were found to have more stress hormone levels (glucocorticoids) after birth. This could reflect a biological adaptation with an evolutionary history, as more stress hormones could increase an animal’s chances for survival in a stressful environment.
In the present study, the researchers tested the strength of the effect of prenatal stress on offspring stress hormone levels across a range of characteristics. Remarkably, the effects of prenatal stress on offspring stress hormones were consistent across species, regardless of evolutionary relationships or factors, such as brain or body size. There were also no differences when considering offspring sex, age of the offspring at the time of assessment, or the timing of the stressor exposure prenatally or its severity.
Only two factors influenced the size of the effect. Experimental studies had a stronger effect than observational studies. In addition, studies that measured glucocorticoid recovery showed a greater association with prenatal stress than was observed at baseline or during peak glucocorticoid response….
An animal’s stress response tends to be activated by external factors, such as when its see a predator or whether food is availabile. Higher stress hormone levels among offspring may help extend survival but come at a cost and may affect other physiological systems, such as reproduction. In humans, the mere anticipation of stress or just thinking about prior experiences of discrimination or trauma can activate a stress response. Overactive stress hormones can lead to chronic health problems in humans, including anxiety, depression and cardiovascular disease.
One of the studies included in the meta-analysis looked at how maternal stress hormones in pregnant snow hares changed in relation to the abundance of their natural predators, lynxes, over a 10-year cycle. The research team found that in years where there were more lynxes, snow hare offspring had more stress hormones and anti-predator behaviors….’’ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180410161135.htm

Citation:

Humans and others exposed to prenatal stress have high stress levels after birth
Date: April 10, 2018
Source: Dartmouth College
Summary:
Vertebrate species, including humans, exposed to stress prenatally tend to have higher stress hormones after birth, according to a new study. While previous research has reported examples of maternal stress experience predicting offspring stress hormones in different species, this study is the first to empirically demonstrate the impact of prenatal stress on offspring stress hormone levels using data from all known studies across vertebrates.

Journal Reference:
1. Zaneta M. Thayer, Meredith A. Wilson, Andrew W. Kim, Adrian V. Jaeggi. Impact of prenatal stress on offspring glucocorticoid levels: A phylogenetic meta-analysis across 14 vertebrate species. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-23169-w

Here is the press release from Dartmouth College:

Public Release: 10-Apr-2018
Study finds humans and others exposed to prenatal stress have high stress levels after birth
Dartmouth College
Vertebrate species, including humans, exposed to stress prenatally tend to have higher stress hormones after birth, according to a new Dartmouth-led study published in Scientific Reports. While previous research has reported examples of maternal stress experience predicting offspring stress hormones in different species, this study is the first to empirically demonstrate the impact of prenatal stress on offspring stress hormone levels using data from all known studies across vertebrates.
Through a meta-analysis of 114 results from a total of 39 observational and experimental studies across 14 vertebrate species, including birds, snakes, sheep and humans, the study examines the impact of prenatal exposure to maternal stress on offspring. The researchers analyzed the role of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA)-axis, the stress physiological system that is shared across all vertebrates, which ultimately, results in the production of stress hormones known as “glucocorticoids.” The HPA-axis is the hormonal system responsible for mobilizing an animal’s stress response. Offspring exposed prenatally to maternal stress were found to have more stress hormone levels (glucocorticoids) after birth. This could reflect a biological adaptation with an evolutionary history, as more stress hormones could increase an animal’s chances for survival in a stressful environment.
In the present study, the researchers tested the strength of the effect of prenatal stress on offspring stress hormone levels across a range of characteristics. Remarkably, the effects of prenatal stress on offspring stress hormones were consistent across species, regardless of evolutionary relationships or factors, such as brain or body size. There were also no differences when considering offspring sex, age of the offspring at the time of assessment, or the timing of the stressor exposure prenatally or its severity.
Only two factors influenced the size of the effect. Experimental studies had a stronger effect than observational studies. In addition, studies that measured glucocorticoid recovery showed a greater association with prenatal stress than was observed at baseline or during peak glucocorticoid response.
“Animals, including humans, modify their stress hormones in response to their environment. Your stress response is set like a thermostat– your body can amp up or down stress hormones in response to anticipated environmental conditions,” explains lead author Zaneta Thayer, an assistant professor of anthropology at Dartmouth.
An animal’s stress response tends to be activated by external factors, such as when its see a predator or whether food is availabile. Higher stress hormone levels among offspring may help extend survival but come at a cost and may affect other physiological systems, such as reproduction. In humans, the mere anticipation of stress or just thinking about prior experiences of discrimination or trauma can activate a stress response. Overactive stress hormones can lead to chronic health problems in humans, including anxiety, depression and cardiovascular disease.
One of the studies included in the meta-analysis looked at how maternal stress hormones in pregnant snow hares changed in relation to the abundance of their natural predators, lynxes, over a 10-year cycle. The research team found that in years where there were more lynxes, snow hare offspring had more stress hormones and anti-predator behaviors.
“Our stress response is meant to be adaptive to acute stress, such as being chased by predators. However, humans’ stress response is often triggered by social evaluative threats and is not serving the adaptive purpose that it was designed for,” added Thayer. “This research confirms what other scientists have long speculated that there are trends across species when it comes to linking prenatal stress and offspring hormonal stress responses.”
Prior work co-authored by Thayer has explored early origins of humans’ health disparities and the impacts of maternal stress during pregnancy on offspring’s postnatal stress hormone levels.
###
Thayer is available for comment at: Zaneta.Marie.Thayer@dartmouth.edu.
Meredith A. Wilson at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Andrew W. Kim at Northwestern University and Adrian V. Jaeggi at Emory University, also served as co-authors of the study.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
https://sciencesources.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/dc-sfh041018.php

Here is information about the Adverse Child Experiences Study. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides access to the peer-reviewed publications resulting from The ACE Study. http://acestudy.org/
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/study-some-of-the-effects-of-adverse-stress-do-not-go-away/

Science Daily reported in Infantile memory study points to critical periods in early-life learning for brain development:

A new study on infantile memory formation in rats points to the importance of critical periods in early-life learning on functional development of the brain. The research, conducted by scientists at New York University’s Center for Neural Science, reveals the significance of learning experiences over the first two to four years of human life; this is when memories are believed to be quickly forgotten — a phenomenon known as infantile amnesia.
“What our findings tell us is that children’s brains need to get enough and healthy activation even before they enter pre-school,” explains Cristina Alberini, a professor in NYU’s Center for Neural Science, who led the study. “Without this, the neurological system runs the risk of not properly developing learning and memory functions…”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160718111939.htm

Citation:

Infantile memory study points to critical periods in early-life learning for brain development
Date: July 18, 2016
Source: New York University
Summary:
A new study on infantile memory formation in rats points to the importance of critical periods in early-life learning on functional development of the brain. The research reveals the significance of learning experiences over the first two to four years of human life.

Journal Reference:
1. Alessio Travaglia, Reto Bisaz, Eric S Sweet, Robert D Blitzer, Cristina M Alberini. Infantile amnesia reflects a developmental critical period for hippocampal learning. Nature Neuroscience, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nn.4348

Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

The Effects of Stress on Your Body
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body

The Physical Effects of Long-Term Stress
http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/the-physical-effects-of-long-term-stress/all/1/

Chronic Stress: The Body Connection
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53737

Understanding Stress Symptoms, Signs, Causes, and Effects
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART ©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/