Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nature and nurture work together to shape the brain

Date:
November 14, 2011
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
Scientists presented new research today demonstrating the impact life experiences can have on genes and behavior. The studies examine how such environmental information can be transmitted from one generation to the next -- a phenomenon known as epigenetics. This new knowledge could ultimately improve understanding of brain plasticity, the cognitive benefits of motherhood, and how a parent's exposure to drugs, alcohol, and stress can alter brain development and behavior in their offspring.

Scientists presented new research demonstrating the impact life experiences can have on genes and behavior. The studies examine how such environmental information can be transmitted from one generation to the next -- a phenomenon known as epigenetics. This new knowledge could ultimately improve understanding of brain plasticity, the cognitive benefits of motherhood, and how a parent's exposure to drugs, alcohol, and stress can alter brain development and behavior in their offspring.

Related Articles


The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2011, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

The new findings show that:

  • Brain cell activation changes a protein involved in turning genes on and off, suggesting the protein may play a role in brain plasticity (Ian Maze, PhD, abstract 660.03, see attached summary).
  • Prenatal exposure to amphetamines and alcohol produces abnormal numbers of chromosomes in fetal mouse brains. The findings suggest these abnormal counts may contribute to the developmental defects seen in children exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero (Jerold Chun, MD, PhD, abstract 166.04, see attached summary).
  • Cocaine-induced changes in the brain may be inheritable. Sons of male rats exposed to cocaine are resistant to the rewarding effects of the drug (Chris Pierce, PhD, abstract 371.05, see attached summary).
  • Motherhood protects female mice against some of the negative effects of stress (Tracey Shors, PhD, abstract 219.12, see attached summary).

Another recent finding discussed shows that:

  • Mice conceived through breeding -- but not those conceived through reproductive technologies -- show anxiety-like and depressive-like behaviors similar to their fathers. The findings call into question how these behaviors are transmitted across generations (David Dietz, PhD, see attached speaker's summary).

"Research in the last few years has dramatically changed what we know about how behaviors are inherited," said press conference moderator Flora Vaccarino, MD, from Yale University, an expert on the developing brain. "Today's findings show how our genes and environment work together to influence brain development throughout a lifetime."

This research was supported by national funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private and philanthropic organizations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Neuroscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience. "Nature and nurture work together to shape the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111114112013.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2011, November 14). Nature and nurture work together to shape the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111114112013.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Nature and nurture work together to shape the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111114112013.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) As the Disneyland measles outbreak continues to spread, the media says parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are part of the cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins