Molecular proof – Teen brain impacted by environment

A new study in mice provides molecular-level proof that the environment we are raised in continues to exert significant influence on brain development beyond childhood into adolescence. The study, published in Nature Communications, demonstrated that the environment in which an adolescent is raised causes measurable epigenetic modifications that influence which genes are activated or muted […]

Childhood experiences gets under the skin: for better and worse

A new study shows that childhood adversity can get ‘under the skin’ and influence epigenetic markers in our blood. Interestingly, the study also suggests for the first time, that perinatal interventions, that tackle early adversity, might have similar effects. The findings are based on a 30-year trial of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), which has shown […]

Sugar cravings may be due to dopamine dysfunction

Moving beyond the overly simplistic unhealthy lifestyle paradigm, researchers are slowly uncovering the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms behind obesity. Recent research by Ludmer Centre researcher Dr Patricia P Silveira at McGill and the Douglas Institute and her colleagues has shown that altered dopamine signaling may increase a preference for more palatable high-sugar foods leading to a risk […]

Cell morphology might relate to differences in maternal behaviour

New research provides insight into how a profound remodeling of cell morphology in a specific brain region —the medial preoptic area (MOPA)— might relate to individual differences in maternal behavior. Both pregnancy hormones and pup sensory stimuli increase neuronal activation leading to a remodeling of neuronal circuits within certain brain regions, including the MPOA, that […]