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How fear moves through generations

By on August 13, 2014

Amazing research continues to be done in the field of epigenetics. Epigenetics refers to mechanisms that impact on gene expression between generations. Probably the most head turning research was published at the end of 2013, which demonstrated that fear associated with a particular scent could be passed from mother to child to grandchild in mice, even when the fear creating stimulus was experienced by the mother before the first generation of offspring were conceived. An article discussing this research is linked at the end of this article.

Recently a team at Boston university’s School of Medicine have proposed an epigenetic trigger for certain cancers:

A team of Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers have proposed that an “on and off” epigenetic switch could be a common mechanism behind the development of different types of cancer. Epigenetics is the phenomena whereby genetically identical cells express their genes differently, resulting in different physical traits. Cancer’s potential on-off switch linked to epigenetics — ScienceDaily

Because we are dealing here, not with genetic make-up, but with little understood gene expression, it is unclear where the research on this subject will ultimately end up, but current research indicates that controlling brain and physiological functions can alter gene expression in the individual. Since hypnosis is a great tool for altering brain function and physiology, it is more than possible that gene expression can be affected under hypnosis.

For an example of relaxation affecting gene expression this fascinating research by a team of medical researchers on the effects of meditation and other Relaxation Response practices on various gene expressions:

Relaxation Response Induces Temporal Transcriptome Changes in Energy Metabolism, Insulin Secretion and Inflammatory Pathways

Practitioners of [Relaxation Response such as meditation] evoked significant temporal gene expression changes … associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion and telomere maintenance, and reduced expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress-related pathways. Relaxation Response Induces Temporal Transcriptome Changes in Energy Metabolism, Insulin Secretion and Inflammatory Pathways

Here is a great article describing the December 2013 research:

Fearful Experiences Passed On In Mouse Families, new research in mice reveals how experience can be passed down through generations due to changes in DNA. Scientists trained mice to associate the scent of cherry blossoms with the fear of receiving an electric shock, and found that the mice’s pups and grandpups were more sensitive to the scent, even though they didn’t receive the shock training. The mice appear to have inherited the fear knowledge through modifications to their genetic code. Fearful Experiences Passed On In Mouse Families



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