A woman’s diet at the time of conception might cause lasting changes in the DNA of her children, potentially influencing their development, researchers say.
In a new study, researchers analyzed the diets of women in rural parts of The Gambia, in western Africa, who experience major changes in their diets over the course of each year as the area goes through rainy seasons and dry seasons.
“The rainy season is often referred to as ‘the hungry season,’ and the dry season ‘the harvest season,'” said study author Robert Waterland, a nutritional epigeneticist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “During the rainy season, villagers have a lot more farming labor to do, and they gradually run out of food collected from the previous harvest.”
Yearlong staples of the women’s diet include rice, a grain called millet, peanuts and cassava. But during the rainy season, they eat more leafy green vegetables similar to spinach, which are very high in folate, a nutrient that is especially important during pregnancy.
The scientists investigated the concentration of nutrients in the blood of 84 pregnant women who conceived at the peak of the rainy season and 83 women who conceived at the peak of the dry season. In addition, they analyzed the DNA of six specific genes in the women’s infants when they were 2 to 8 months old.
The researchers found that in all six genes, the infants who were conceived during the rainy season had consistently higher rates of “methylation” in their DNA. A methylation is a change made to DNA — it’s the addition of methyl groups to the DNA strand, a so-called epigenetic modification to DNA — and is a process that can silence the expression of a gene.
Methylation generally depends on nutrients such as folate, choline, methionine, and vitamins B2 and B6, the researchers said. In the study, methylation in the infants’ genes was linked to various nutrient levels in the mother’s blood.
“Our results represent the first demonstration in humans that a mother’s nutritional well-being at the time of conception can change how her child’s genes will be interpreted, with a lifelong impact,” senior study author Branwen Hennig, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement.
Prior studies in animals had suggested that environmental influences before conception might lead to epigenetic changes in the offspring. For instance, a 2003 study revealed a female mouse’s diet can alter the color of her offspring’s coat by permanently modifying DNA methylation.
“These specific epigenetic marks on DNA are very stable — essentially permanent, as far as we know,” Waterland said.
Past research suggested environmental influences could have epigenetic effects during development in humans as well. For instance, whether Dutch women suffered through post-World War II famines during pregnancy apparently influenced how skinny or fat their children were later in life.
However, there was little strong evidence that environmental factors could trigger permanent changes to DNA throughout the human body, Waterland said.
“It’s also important to note that their diet wasn’t the only thing that changed — there was more physical activity due to farm labor during the rainy season, which contributed to weight loss during the rainy season and regaining of weight during the dry season,” Waterland said. “Such changes contribute to what nutrients are circulating within the women.”
In the new study, a nearly identical epigenetic effect was found in both blood and hair-follicle DNA of the infants. “This suggests all the cells in these kids’ bodies have the same mark associated with their season of conception,” Waterland said.
The long-term consequences of these epigenetic effects in children remain unknown. “We want to develop a catalog of all regions in the human genome that can get altered epigenetically by diet,” Waterland said. “This will help give us the ability to tell what the likely role such changes might have in disease, and what particular diseases might be most likely to have an epigenetic component.”
“Our ultimate goal is to define an optimal diet for mothers-to-be that would prevent defects in the methylation process,” study author Andrew Prentice, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement. “Preconceptional folic acid is already used to prevent defects in embryos. Now our research is pointing towards the need for a cocktail of nutrients, which could come from the diet or from supplements.”
This story originally appeared on LiveScience.com.
Isn’t domestic violence like a deadly virus that’s spreading globally? Why is abuse at home on the rise even in the developed countries/
Domestic abuse has become sort of a disease now, so much so that we need and awareness month to address it just as we do for breast cancer.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the USA. Even though this is December it is still the perfect time to write on this topic as it really touches my heart and deserves attention by men and women alike.
Why is this sickening behavior getting out of proportion and what stops us from taking control over this man-made cancer?
There might be many reasons for why domestic violence is on the rise, but there’s one personal quality that can act as a deterrent and an antidote- self-control.
What you need is LUCK- love, understanding, compassion, and kindness. Maybe that’s too easy to say because the situations that lead to violence aren’t that simple. And, self-control isn’t child’s play either. Love too either ceases to exist or loses its magic with time.
How else can we deal with domestic abuse, which makes one out of three women suffer around the world? That’s really too much, isn’t it?
You’d be surprised to know that it’s not only women who’re the victims, but even men report being abused by women! However, the number of men as victims is much lower and their cases are mostly not as severe as those of women who’re abused by men.
In either case, there are injuries and causalities, and many more lives including children are greatly affected. If we call ourselves civilized, we need to put an end to domestic violence.
Let’s understand the what, who, and why of this deadly virus that has severely infected the word. And, in this post, we’ll only take up the issue of violence against women.
“All marriages are sacred, but not all are safe.” Rob Jackson
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior, which involves the abuse by one partner against another in an intimate relationship. It can include violence in marriage, courtship, or cohabitation.
An abusive relationship is marked with physical, emotional, mental, verbal, sexual, and even financial forms of abuse as explained in the above writing.
All these abuses also happen in domestic violence against women. Do you have any idea what abused women go through? It sends a shiver down my spine even as I write this- women and even young girls are subjected to forced rape, sexual assault and even murder! Women are also burned or killed in the name of a dowry and honor killing in some Asian countries.
They can be brutally attacked with acid. The acid attack victim suffers with burns and scars on the face and body throughout the rest of her life, if she survives.
Besides these severe physical abuses women are also subject to biting, kicking, hitting, pushing, punching, slapping, and choking. For that matter, even denying medical aid when needed, and depriving the partner of food and sleep causes physical harm.
Domestic abuse is not limited to physical abuse. Some other forms of domestic violence are dominance, forced isolation, humiliation, harassment, intimidation, blaming, endangerment, stalking, and kidnapping.
Domestic violence also includes dating violence. It’s sad to see how the dating valentines transform their loving relationships to domestic violence.
Remember that domestic violence can happen to anyone, but not everyone is an abuser.
Who is a Domestic Abuser?
A domestic abuser is no stranger. The domestic act of violence are always committed by either the spouse, boyfriend, family member, or any know person having intimate relations.
Mostly the abusers are:
. Youth in the age group of 18 to 30 years
. Persons from low-income socioeconomic groups
.Unemployed and frustrated
. Uneducated or having lower levels of education
. Employees with low job satisfaction
. Abusers of alcohol and other substances
.Persons with a past history of violence
. Those who grew up in an abused and violent family
. People with antisocial personality disorders
. People with attitudes and beliefs that accept gender inequality
However, exceptions are always there.
The abuser can also be an adult or senior, a person with high-income background- one who’s well placed in career, and even the one who’s not a substance abuser in any form.
One aspect that may surprise many is that most abusers are often charming and loveable in their other relationships. This, people might never suspect them of being aggressive and violent. Yet, just like the Jekyll and Hyde personality, these charming abusers unleash hell when at home or in privacy. Further, the domestic abusers are equally prevalent in all types of caste, creed, and race. They all probably have the same types of reasons for domestic violence.
Why Does Domestic Violence Happen?
Arguments, differences, and disputes do occur occasionally in relationships. An intimate relationship is no different in this respect. But when things go to extremes, where one or both partners try to establish supremacy- the fair playground gets muddier.
Here are some basic reasons why partners abuse or are abused.
. Domestic violence is a learned behavior. Mostly you do what you see and experience. You’re most likely to use violence in intimate relationships if you encounter it in your family and around yourself.
. The kind of parenting you experience I a big factor in your becoming an abuser or victim. You subconsciously start to imitate your parents and reinforce your observations.
. Some even consider the effect of genetics, brain development, and biochemistry on the personality and nature of the abuser, and the acts of violence committed in close relationships.
. Domestic violence occurs because one partner tries to gain power and control over another intimate partner.
. The abuse hurts the victim to induce fear by intimidation and inflicting pain so that the fear of leaving become greater than the fear of staying.
. A lot also depends on the socio-cultural status of the place where the abuser and the abused live. Some countries or cultures fin the behaviors as normal, while other countries or cultures treat the same as domestic violence.
. The public depiction of women as objects through videos, movies, songs, books, computer games, and especially pornographic material make women unworthy of respect. This creates a negative impact in the young tender minds of children and teenagers, who later become abusers.
. Boys or male children are brought up in a way that they think they’re not responsible for their actions. They think they can do what they want, and always have things their way, including mistreating their partners.
. People who experience abuse in childhood are more likely to become abusers in their intimate relationships when they grow up.
. Many religions have beliefs that teach and instruct women to accept male domination, and men to control women.
. As a rule of nature, a submissive person is generally suppressed, pressurized, controlled and tortured even more by the dominant partner; this is what happens in domestic violence.
. Acts of violence against women are planned and purposely done. Men do it either because of a clash of egos, feeling of insecurity, intense dislike, or because they can’t tolerate her as an equal.
. Domestic violence happens because the abuser is not happy with himself. One who’s not happy with one’s own self can never be good and happy with others.
Can you think of more reasons? Mention them in the comments. Whatever be the reason, abuse of any kind is neither justified nor rational, whether it is against women or men.
Effects of Domestic Violence
The victim of domestic violence is battered and shattered. The person begins to lose self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. But this is not all.
. Talking about the United States, women who’re the victim of domestic violence are more likely to become homeless.
. Many women lose their jobs being victims of intimate partner violence.
.Domestic abusers are likely to abuse even their children, besides abusing their wives.
. Children, who witness or experience domestic abuse, are more likely to do the same when they grow up. They might even become juvenile delinquents and engage in unsocial activities.
Many young children end up in jail for murdering their battered mother’s abuser.
. Victims of domestic violence are likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosomatic problems, eating disorders, hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, and even sexual dysfunction.
. The abused always fears the abuser, and this fear makes the victim dependent on the abuser. They fear that leaving the abuser may bring more harm to them.
There may be many effects of domestic violence, so break the silence and come forward to share what you’ve experience, heard, or seen. Remember, you might be able to help a domestic violence victim through your act.
To avoid the ugly effects of domestic violence, you should be able to recognize the early signs of domestic abuse.
Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
Are you suffering from domestic abuse? If you’re not sure then you should know these signs of abuse and treat them as warnings before they take the ugly form of domestic violence.
I’ve presented them in question form so you can answer them in “yes” or “no”.
If you come up with having many “Yes’s” then you probably need to talk to someone close to you, who can be a family member, friend, or you can even consult a counselor.
. Has your partner ever destroyed anything that is special to you like any objects, books, and clothes?
. Have you ever been forced to have sex against your wish or in ways that you don’t approve of?
. Do you fear your partner in any form or for any reason? Do you fear going home?
. Do you blame yourself for the violence?
. Are you subject to frequent criticism and blame from you partner including being called names?
. Have you ever been threatened verbally or by using a weapon?
. Are you denied education and restricted access to sources of information like books and the internet?
.Does your partner or spouse often touch you in intimidating ways?
. Are you often humiliated or insulted in public, besides in private?
. Does your partner often criticize your family or friends?
. Does your partner make you feel too lowly or unworthy or even makes you feel that you’re crazy?
. Are you treated like a servant?
. Are you often made to feel guilty of things directly or indirectly related to you, whether you’ve done them or not?
. Are you never allowed to make big decisions about the family or even yourself?
. Have you been denied to lead a life of your own and take a job?
. Is your dignity being questioned? Are you suspected of infidelity to the extent that all you moves and talks are monitored, even if you remain faithful?
. Are you totally under control of your partner and can’t do anything without your partner’s permission?
. Are your children being used against you, or are you threatened that they’ll be taken away from you?
. Is your pet being abused just to create a scare in you so that you obey your partner?
. Does your partner make you do illegal thins, blackmail you or even threaten to leave you or commit suicide?
. Are you deprived of access to family income and not allowed to have your say in important financial matters?
. Have you been troubled by your partner to arrange for money?
. Does your partner take away all your money to make you dependent on him financially?
Many of you might feel that some of these questions don’t quite relate to domestic violence. However, you need to remember that domestic abuse is not only physical, but also psychological, emotional, and mental. Even violation of your basic human rights is an act of violence.
I’m sorry to say that if you have any of these signs, then it’s an indication that your partner doesn’t truly love you.
Why? That’s because somebody who really loves you will give you all the freedom and never restrict you from being and developing yourself.
If you’re not given your place in the family and society, then you’re being deprived of your rights, and that’s a violation. If you feel that many of these warning signs are part of your life, then you may be in an abusive relationship or in any of the states of domestic abuse.
Abuse is not about a single isolated incident or behavior, but frequently acting behaviors that form a pattern that becomes severe with time. Never ignore these behaviors or patterns. These may be the signs that you’ve a controlling partner. You need to raise a strong voice against it.
“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” Mark Caine
What Should You Do in Domestic Abuse
It’s only you who can and who should do something about your condition and situation. What you should do depends on the type and level of domestic abuse that you are suffering. I could write a full- fledged post about how to deal with domestic violence but I will give some general suggestions since this post is already very long.
First: Take the initiative and courage to break the silence. Talk to someone close to you. If you can’t then try any online help resources for women suffering from domestic abuse, or call their toll free helpline numbers.
Second: If you think communication with your partner makes sense, then convey your thoughts and feelings. You will be surprised to see the things that can be resolved when you talk? Only you know if you can do that.
Third: If mutual dialogue doesn’t help or isn’t possible and things turn pretty bad, then don’t hesitate to seek professional help and visit a certified counselor, or even call the police if need be.
Fourth: if nothing works- walk out? Don’t stay with a domestic abuser, nor try to make-do with a person when there is nothing left between both of you. Your partner can even to the extent of crying and begging for forgiveness, but then you must realize that the apologies made are condition, and he indirectly holds you responsible for the abuse.
He might say that if you hadn’t said this or acted like that, then the abuse might never have happened. Or, maybe his apology is genuine, you’ve to decide on that based on the past record of your partner. Remember that the abuser is always in control, and his aim is to train the partner to be what and how he wants.
Call to Action
Abusers are people who like to abuse, and there’s no other cause to it. Don’t fall for sweet talks if you’re in a serious abusive relationship.
You need to avoid this trap and cycle of abuse.
Never allow yourself to be abused or mistreated. The choice always lies in your hands.
Before your abuser attempts to break down your sense of self-worth and make you feel helpless, you need to seek help and take important decisions of your life. Always rememberthat if your partner loves you, he or she will never be abusive or violent. This should be an indication whether you want to move away or stay in a relationship.
Only an abuser will adopt the strategy and tactics of control and domination, and such behaviors are the root cause of abusive and violet behavior. On the other hand, remember that since domestic violence is a learned behavior, it can be unlearned too.
You need to decide if you want to make amends and give your partner a second chance, but if nothing seems to be working, you should walk away as fast as you can. Don’t think twice because your life is precious!
I know of my family and friends who are leading very happy lives after leaving their partners due to domestic violence. Some of them remarried to people who truly love them and are very happy now.
It’s your life and you have all the right to live it the way you want to. Go live your life, and break free if you have to because you live only once.
I am reading a wonderful book call Hearts West by Chris Enss. It is true stores of Mail OderBrides on the Frontier. It is fascinating reading about how woman overcame their shyness and became the women of the frontier.
Giving up everything they had known to venture to a place they’ve not been, in order to meet a man who is unknown to them. They may have had a few words sent to them by letter, or it could have been as simple as a man came to town, posted an ad to single women to attend a meeting. The meeting would then explain how the west needed woman to help settle it, and make it more genteel. Not to mention the fact that men outnumbered woman by at least six to one.
These woman traveled by ship, by wagon train to get to their destination. Think of what kind of hardships they had to endure to get to “their man”. It is hard to think what they might have endured in the early to mid 1800’s.
I am sure some of them stayed happily married while others were abused or abandoned. Doesn’t sound much different from today, does it?
Personal ads were used by woman to find a mate also. The book shows an advertisement place by Dorothy Scaraggs, Marysville, California newspaper, April 1849.
By a Lady who can wash, cook, scour, sew, milk, spin, weave, hoe, (can’t plow), cut wood, make fires, feed the pigs, raise the chickens, rock the cradle,saw a plank, drive nails, ect, (gold-rocker, I thank you sir), These are few solid branches, now for the ornamental. “Long time ago” she went as far as snytax, read Murray’s Geography and through rules in Pike’s grammar. Could find six states on the Atlas. Could read, and you can see she can write, Can–no, could paint roses, butterflies, ships, ect. great many things to numerous to be name bare. Oh, I bear you ask, could she scold? No, she can’t you, you ____ _____good-for nothing!
Now for her terms. Her age is none of your business. She is neither handsome nor a fright, yet an old man need not apply, nor any who have not a little more education than she has, and a great deal more guid, for there must be $20,000 settled on her before she will bind herself to perform all the above.
We still have mail order brides today. Think about how many woman go on-line and find compatible mates. We haven’t changed much in some areas over the past couple of hundred years. I find it rather surprising. As the saying goes, “What goes around, comes around”.