trauma

'Memories' pass between generations

The findings provide evidence of "transgenerational epigenetic inheritance” - that the environment can affect an individual’s genetics, which can in turn be passed on.

One of the researchers Dr Brian Dias told the BBC: “This might be one mechanism that descendants show imprints of their ancestor.

"There is absolutely no doubt that what happens to the sperm and egg will affect subsequent generations.”

Prof Marcus Pembrey, from University College London, said the findings were “highly relevant to phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders” and provided “compelling evidence” that a form of memory could be passed between generations.

He commented: “It is high time public health researchers took human transgenerational responses seriously.

"I suspect we will not understand the rise in neuropsychiatric disorders or obesity, diabetes and metabolic disruptions generally without taking a multigenerational approach.”

In the smell-aversion study, is it thought that either some of the odour ends up in the bloodstream which affected sperm production or that a signal from the brain was sent to the sperm to alter DNA.“

In 2006 I Had an Ordeal With Medicine

It is very hard for me to put this into regular words without it becoming a fragmented mess. But it went something like this: At the beginning of my second semester of graduate school what I thought I was doing as a student and would be scholar changed quite dramatically. On February 10th, 2006, I went to work for the first day at a professional organization for heart doctors. I got the position through a temp agency. I had an uncomfortable pain throughout the day. Something like cramps but—off. I was hoping it was cramps. My period was extremely irregular those days due to PCOS and I was often relived when I would have a naturally occurring menstrual cycle. By the time my work day was over the pain became worse… bad enough for me to stop in a parking lot and recline in my car for a bit before I had to endure the frustrating traffic of the DC suburbs during rush hour. I went to sleep that night deciding that this pain was odd enough that if, in the morning, it wasn’t gone, I needed to go to an emergency room.

The next morning I went to a county hospital, the nearest hospital (to my knowledge at the time). After a wait in the emergency room I got, what would become the usual battery of questions throughout this ordeal: How much does it hurt on a scale from one to ten? When was your last period? When was the last time that you were sexually active? It ended with me peeing in a cup and heading for a bed. The doctor, a male doctor this particular time asked me the same set of questions. I hadn’t yet bled and told him as much but when I got up from the bed there was a spot of blood. He sat me down and explained to me that I was experiencing menstrual cramps and that menstrual cramps are form the uterus working at shedding its lining. When I say that I was in my first year of graduate school, let me be clear, I am no child prodigy. I am 22 years old in this scene.

He sent me home with a lovely cocktail of ibuprofen and oxycodone.

To be continued.