22nd April 2016 ALL IN THE WOMB by Ruth Adams

‘You MUST listen to this programme’, a friend wrote in an email to me on Tuesday evening (19th April 2016) about a Radio 4 programme which had been broadcast earlier that day at 11am, entitled ‘All in the Womb’. If you’re interested in early trauma, this is a ‘must hear’.

New research into the area of Epigenetics shows a clear link between the effects of the experiences of previous generations on current and future generations.
Some of us who didn’t excel at the sciences in school find the whole area of epigenetics a little difficult to get our heads around but it’s a really important area for understanding some of the challenges the children we live and work with face.

The website – http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/what-is-epigenetics/ – gives a helpful explanation of epigenetics, which includes the following analogy which made things much clearer for me.

“Think of the human life span as a very long movie. The cells would be the actors and actresses, essential units that make up the movie. DNA, in turn, would be the script — instructions for all the participants of the movie to perform their roles. Subsequently, the DNA sequence would be the words on the script, and certain blocks of these words that instruct key actions or events to take place would be the genes. The concept of genetics would be like screenwriting. Follow the analogy so far? Good. The concept of epigenetics, then, would be like directing. The script can be the same, but the director can choose to eliminate certain scenes or dialogue, altering the movie for better or worse. After all, Steven Spielberg’s finished product would be drastically different than Woody Allen’s for the same movie script, wouldn’t it?”

The Radio 4 programme this week looked at the effects of the 9/11 disaster on the children of 200 pregnant women who were directly involved in this tragedy and linked this to the findings already made on the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.

Epigenetics is a relatively new area that builds on all that we’re learning about how trauma has an impact on so many different things. Discover Magazine has a fascinating article – ‘Grandma’s experiences leave a mark on your genes’ which can be downloaded at, http://discovermagazine.com/2013/may/13-grandmas-experiences-leave-epigenetic-mark-on-your-genes#.VQnicFmxZGI.email

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