Monday, 02 Mar, 2009 Health & Fitness

Abuse in Childhood Leaves Suicide Marks on Victims' Genes


Scientists found that child abuse can leave suicide marks on victims' genes.

Led by Michael Meaney, the team of researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, discovered that people who were abused and later committed suicide had more genes "turned off" in brain tissue extracted from hippocampus than people who did not suffer from abuse in childhood. It is worth mentioning that hippocampus is an area in the brain that plays a role in mood control.

In order to see whether the differences between the abused people and those who were not abused are linked to abuse itself or to suicide tendencies, researchers analyzed the samples of hippocampal tissue taken from 24 patients, who committed suicide.

Half of the patients had records of abuse or were neglected as children and the other half were neither abused nor neglected and who died in other ways.

It was found that there were more chemical caps on Nr3c1 gene in patients who were abused and committed suicide compared to the other two groups of patients. Researchers consider that Nr3c1 helps modulate the reaction to stress, reports NewScientist.

The results of the study showed that alterations in gene expressions have connection with childhood abuse and not to suicide. But still, people who had records of abuse in their childhood were more likely to commit suicide.

Meaney believes that the gene changes, occurred as a result of abuse, may pressure people to kill themselves.

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