October 5


Early-Life Stress, Epigenetics, and Disease with Dr Patrick McGowan

By heheals

October 5, 2020

Dr. Patrick McGowan discusses how stresses early in life can potentially impact epigenetic mechanisms and disease susceptibility. This short take was shot during a break at Keystone Symposia’s meeting on Environmental Epigenomics and Disease Susceptibility held in March 2011 in Asheville, North Carolina.



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  1. I don't believe in drugs or in the concept of mental illnesses. I think shamans have demonstrated that the same knowledge can be acquired through very different methods. It's all relative to what you think is real or not and how you want to interpret what you see. Of course much of human dna is very similar to animals, we just are a little more complex I guess in some sense. Epigenetics is about energy patterns and they can be passed on in the form of genes being suppressed or expressed.

  2. Most human stress is caused by cognitive beliefs. Have you noticed? Animals adapt more easily to their environment regardless of what the stressor are. Humans don't adapt so well because of what society dictates through religion and culture mostly, I don't think that animals have the slightest idea of guilt or shame. That are just a couple of the important distinctions i wanted to make. I respect what you are doing nevertheless. Our perceptions part of the environment no? maybe?

  3. But please explain to me why you think that Levine's theories support your viewpoint. I am only partially aware of his work. However, I know that he, when talking about prey animal, is agreeing with the fact that even animals process traumatic events post the actual event. This processing is often accompanied with physical symptoms. I do not know of any source stating that animals forget these events.

    I hope I am not spamming you! I apologize if that is the case!

  4. Whilst I agree with you that humans suffer more often of depression, animals, too, can get depression. I, myself, think that this unproportional distribution is not due to unproportional disposition towards humans, but it has more to do with the differences in lifestyle, which explains the increase of depression in developed countries, as opposed to developing countries. This view is supported by a lot of research.

  5. The matter of fact is, the reason why it seems that animals completely process traumatic events is because you are looking at the wrong type of processing. Further, you are confusing stress processing with cognitive beliefs. One is conscious (frontal lobe) the other is subconscious (primitive brain). The one is highly developed in humans (frontal lobe) the other is present in similar proportions in most social mammals (primitive brain).

  6. A giraffe or elephant mother will not forget the death of her child. When the elephant child was killed by humans, the mother will never completely trust humans in most cases. Dogs fall into deep depression when they went through abuse. However, the way animals handle depression is differently than humans. Some dogs handle it through extreme aggression, so do chimpanzees. A lot of other mammals seem to get stressed much easier after such events.

  7. Are you familiar with the work of Peter Levine? That is mostly the kind of ideas I am referring to. When animals go through a stressful time, at least in the wild, they usually process it completely and forget it until the next time they are expose to the stressor. Humans not only have difficulty processing traumatic experiences, they tend to acquire a chronic condition as a result of it. Mental health can no longer be separated from physical or even spiritual aspects. Do animals have beliefs?

  8. Either there is a misunderstanding of the context between or you don't want to be convinced, but I am guessing the first. Nonetheless, I partially agree with you when it comes humanities knowledge of mental health. We do know a lot about mental health, however there is 1000 times more things to research and find. Mental health is so incredibly complex even in the simplest life forms on earth.

  9. Assuming animals would not be representative as models suggests to me that the person assuming this does not believe humans are animals and does not understand the close genomic and behavioural link between mice and humans for example. More over, most non-human primates show extensive acknowledgement of the perception of death. Many show forms of depression when confronted with death. Depression actually occurs in many mammals. OCD and other obsessive behaviour has first been observed in birds.

  10. Well, I don't think that if someone is wrong about something, he should wait a second to change his mind, therefore I'm not entitled to my idea. =) However, animal models have helped a lot in biotechnological research. Without experiments in mice, probably 80% of the medical advances that I have studied wouldn't exist. Currently there are 3000 experimental drugs tested on mice that might help advance gene therapy. Mice are very similar to humans evolutionary and therefore respond in similar ways

  11. I don't agree with you but you're entitled to your ideas. Most animals that have chronic "anxiety disorders" have them because of humans. All of these conditions have to do with perceptions, which are not real for the most part or can be changed with a different environment. Bu they, that's just my opinion. Not to say that animals can never be models but quite frankly isn't it better just to bring about change with a healthy environment? Humans are clueless when it comes to mental health.

  12. Depression – Depression as registered through endophenotypical characteristics influenced by traumatic events.
    OCD – There is already treatment available for animals with OCD.
    Anxiety – Is described by the animal model of depression.
    Bipolar disorder – There are many publications on good candidates for an animal model of bipolar disorder. From this you can conclude that scientists recognise bipolar traits in animals.

    Animal models are crucial for scientific advancement and have been proven.

  13. Animals are not good models since they are not like humans in many respect. For one thing, they don't keep playing traumatic events over and over in their memories, activating all the flight or flight circuits even if there is no real treat. Have you heard of animals with PTSD , depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or OCD? Awe come on, humans are way more complex and are unable to live in the present moment unlike animals.

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