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#84724 - 11/02/06 02:36 PM Abuse can alter brain
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
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Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5778
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
From the Chicago Tribune today:

Abuse can alter brain, study finds
Low serotonin linked to cycle of cruelty

By Ronald Kotulak
Tribune science reporter
Published November 2, 2006


A new study on monkeys raised by abusive mothers suggests that growing up in an abusive household can alter brain chemistry in a way that makes some youngsters prone to mistreating their own children when they grow up.

In other words, abuse is not just something that's learned from living with abusive parents, although that may have an influence, according to authors of the report, published in Thursday's issue of the journal Behavioral Neuroscience.

Suffering through abuse also appears to permanently lower the brain's production of an important regulator of emotions called serotonin, said Dario Maestripieri, the study's lead author and an associate professor at the University of Chicago in comparative human development. Low serotonin can make people more prone to acts of rejection, impulsive aggression and violence.

Of course, most children who were abused do not become abusers themselves. But some do, and the findings of the study may help explain this troubling cycle where victims of abuse later mistreat their own children.

The results emphasize the need for programs to reduce child abuse and to develop behavior-modification strategies for abusive parents. But they also open the door to the development of medications, such as antidepressants, to boost brain serotonin to normal levels in both children and mothers, Maestripieri said.

"This suggests that children who early on have differences in their brain in terms of serotonin could be treated with some of these drugs and maybe these unwanted consequences could be avoided," he said.

Other scientists said that because monkeys are not humans, such findings should be interpreted cautiously. Nevertheless, there are enough genetic and biological similarities between the two species, they said, that the results may have important implications for people.

"We know that child abuse is bad for kids and that it's associated with all sorts of mental health outcomes," said University of Wisconsin psychologist Seth Pollak, who was not involved in the research. "But we don't understand how that experience seems to get under children's skin. This emphasis on serotonin seems to really help explain a lot of the behavioral problems that these children have as they grow up."

The findings add to a growing body of scientific evidence showing that nature and nurture interact to produce behavior. Environmental experiences can significantly influence how genes act in the body, affecting behavior, while an individual's genetic makeup can help determine the impact those experiences will have.

Researchers have already documented that humans who have low serotonin levels tend to be more anxious, depressed and impulsive, and earlier studies in rodents linked infant abuse and low serotonin.

Other studies have shown that among monkeys exposed to abuse as infants, those that have a shortened version of the serotonin transporter gene appear to be more vulnerable to experiencing low serotonin levels.

And recent brain scan studies found that people with the short serotonin gene have a more active amygdala, the brain's fear center. A person who has a heightened sensitivity to fear may see threats where none exist and lash out inappropriately.

The study by Maestripieri and his colleagues involved 15 baby rhesus monkeys from a colony housed at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Researchers noted which adult female monkeys displayed abusive behavior to their offspring and which females were nurturing mothers.

When these monkeys became pregnant again, the babies of the abusive mothers were given to the non-abusive females to raise and vice versa. Serotonin levels were measured from the infants' cerebral spinal fluid at birth and at regular intervals into adulthood.

Researchers found that infants raised under abusive conditions tended to develop low serotonin levels and become abusive mothers themselves, even though they were born to non-abusive mothers. Infants born to abusive mothers but raised by non-abusive ones retained normal serotonin levels and were not abusive.

"What's really happening to the infants raised by non-abusive mothers is that they're getting the right input into their brain," said J. Dee Higley of Brigham Young University, who participated in the study, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The scientists suspect that low levels of serotonin may serve as a useful survival skill in a threatening situation by making primates more vigilant. But when the level is set low right from birth and stays there, it makes them impulsively aggressive.

"The big news in the new study is that certain patterns of maternal behavior have consequences for their offspring that are not only behavioral but biological and those consequences are possibly lifelong and they appear to be passed on to the next generation," said Stephen Suomi of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

----------

rkotulak@tribune.com


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#84725 - 11/04/06 12:14 PM Re: Abuse can alter brain
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Ken, let the monkeys do the research.
Low levels of serotonin may be a factor of hundreds of other factors.

There are millions of us on SSRI's, it does not make us child abusers, nor prone to it.
Child abusers will always have lived with an unnatural attraction to kids.

What bullshit will we see next :rolleyes:

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#84726 - 11/04/06 04:35 PM Re: Abuse can alter brain
WalkingSouth Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Ken,

That is a very interesting article. Explains a lot. It angers me that this kind of thing was done to so many of us. I admire and honor those of us who've come through what we have to become the loving and honorable citizens we've become in spite of it all.

Thanks for sharing.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#84727 - 11/04/06 06:15 PM Re: Abuse can alter brain
markgreyblue Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 5400
Loc: Pasadena, CA
wow - that is interesting -

thanks Ken,

_________________________
"...do not look outside yourself for the leader."
-wisdom of the hopi elders

"...the sign of a true leader is service..." - anonymous



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#84728 - 11/04/06 06:16 PM Re: Abuse can alter brain
markgreyblue Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 5400
Loc: Pasadena, CA
ste - do you realize in your own angst about your abuse - you were just really rude and semi abusive to Ken's generous offer?

i would watch that -

Mark

_________________________
"...do not look outside yourself for the leader."
-wisdom of the hopi elders

"...the sign of a true leader is service..." - anonymous



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#84729 - 11/04/06 06:17 PM Re: Abuse can alter brain
markgreyblue Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 5400
Loc: Pasadena, CA
don't become a you know what yourself - eh?

_________________________
"...do not look outside yourself for the leader."
-wisdom of the hopi elders

"...the sign of a true leader is service..." - anonymous



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#84730 - 11/04/06 06:53 PM Re: Abuse can alter brain
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Ken,

Thanks for posting this really interesting article. The only problem I have with the study - and I wonder what you think of this - is the question of what "abuse" is in the context of apes.

I assume all would agree that apes don't possess a sense of morality or altruism, whereas humans do. So if we say that apes can be "abused", isn't that to presume a definition of abuse that is disconnected from morality and altruistic behavior?

The whole question is fascinating and could be pushed a lot further, but I'll leave it at that.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#84731 - 11/04/06 06:56 PM Re: Abuse can alter brain
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
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Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
does anybody think about the poor monkeys?what gives these researchers the right to experiment with the emotions of the monkeys ?do we expose them to abuse ,just so we can study them ,i think that sucks! also how do the get the spinal fluid to test it?anybody here ever had a spinal tap?i have and it is the most painfull thing you could ever imagine.just by saying that the monkeys are so much like humans ought to tell them that what they are doing is not good.what if we took a child that was used to a loving mother and switched it with one thats being abused? why not just go to detention centers and pick a group of kids and experiment on them ?instead of studying the effects of abuse we should be experimenting on the perps ,lets take two groups of perps ,one will be treated with kindness and the other will be beaten and abused .i think that both groups will still be abusers because the bottom line is perps are not normal so no study that starts out with a subject being normal will apply. mark i dont think ste would ever be intentionaly rude or abusive to anybody . untill somebody finds a missing gene or some physical reason that people become perps .i'll go with my explanation ,perps are born different and yes something is missing ,they have no fucking heart ,they have no value for any life except their own ,they are out to satisfy their sick compulsion ,perps are the most selfish things on this earth ,hey maybe we could put a perp in a cage with a gorrila with low levels of seritonin and study what it does to the perp ! i dont think ste was rude to ken its just that these studies dont seem to help anybody except the researchers that make millions doing them . look at a baby monkey and look at a baby human ,not a whole lot of difference is there?abuse in the name of science is still abuse ,i say save the monkeys,stop the research now.

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#84732 - 11/05/06 12:24 PM Re: Abuse can alter brain
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Mark, there was no intention to be rude to Ken.
Its the mad scientists again saying, wow, we found a common thing in some innocent animal that we abused.

We get stuck in jail for doing the same thing, but what human could hurt animals to just find some difference in the brain of a terrified animal who just wants to die, and did they care for its welfare.

It is mad science, and it is a far cry from finding anything positive,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#84733 - 11/13/06 04:52 PM Re: Abuse can alter brain
sis Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 195
Loc: Arizona
To all,
My first thought is what gives these scientist the right to abuse the monkeys??? what is the difference, a bigger and stronger human abusing a less powerful child or a big and sronger human abusing a less powerful monkey??? Then this one part of the article which sais, "we know that child abuse is bad for kids and that it's associated with all sorts of mental health outcomes" "But we don't understand how that experience semms to get under children's skin". Well, let me count the ways. Torture, physical, sexual and emotional abuse so horendous that main stream folks can't even imagine. Brain washing and instilled victimization, beastiality, foriegn objests entirely too big for any purpose but pain to the victim. death threats, animal torture, living in terror your whole child hood. Maybe that's it!!!!! What do these people think? that molestation is the mere touching in a loving way of a childs private parts? NOT!!!!! Anyway, get out of the lab people and start to study what happens to these children who are abused and help them, damn it!!!! light and luv ,Sis


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