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Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2014;128:177-98. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800977-2.00007-3.

The intergenerational effects of early adversity.

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Judge Baker Children's Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Early insults during critical periods of brain development, both prenatal and postnatal, can result in epigenetic changes that may impact health and behavioral outcomes over the life span and into future generations. There is ample evidence that these early stages of brain development are sensitive to various environmental insults, including malnutrition, childhood trauma, and drug exposures. The notion that such changes, both physiological and behavioral, can also carry over into subsequent generations has long been recognized, especially in the context of experimental studies. However, epigenetic mechanisms capable of explaining such phenomena were not available until relatively recently, with most of this research published only within the last decade.


Drug abuse; Epigenetics; Humans; Intergenerational; Malnutrition; Rats; Trauma

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