How Your Mom’s Stress Is Now Your Stress

How Your Mom’s Stress Is Now Your Stress

Turns out if your Mom was really stressed,
CONGRATULATIONS NOW YOU’RE STRESSED TOO! THANKS, O-MAMA. Back in 1998, an ice storm hit North America,
if you live anywhere near the Canadian border, you probably remember it — I do. It was CRAZY.
Everything was covered in ice from Michigan to Maine and Ontario to Nova Scotia. The weight
of all that ice caused massive damage to infrastructure in both countries and power outages dragged
on for weeks after. Not to be caught in the rain, researchers at McGill in Canada found
pregnant mothers who were without power, and followed them, and their offspring, for thirteen
YEARS. Turns out, the North American Ice Storm of 1998 affected the kids’ DNA! It used to be thought that if I physically
stressed my body, it wouldn’t affect my kids at all. If *I* was in a famine, my kids couldn’t
be affected by that! And then… it turns out… that’s not true at all. In the 1990s
the field of epigenetics came onto the scene and we discovered what happens to our PARENTS
will affect US, and what happens to US affects our KIDS and so on down the line forever. This study, published in PlosONE, found the
children of those mothers had quote, “distinctive patterns in DNA methylation.” DNA methylation
is the on-off switch for how the DNA gives its instructions. Whether to to produce a
bone or a red blood cell for example would have different methylation. Alterations of
that process change how the same DNA will be read by your body. In this case, a correlation
appeared to exist between the length of time without power and subjective level of suffering
of these mothers, with the methylation of their children’s DNA! 36 of the children tested,
showed the same pattern of methylation on their T-cells. These cells are part of the
immune system, so chances are, these kids will have some kind of immnuo-differentiation
from their parents… If you’re wondering what that will mean, you’re
right there with me and the other scientists. They don’t know yet. It’s not like they can
compare the kids pre and post DNA methylation! They were born that way! But this is the first
time ever, in humans, that science has been able to show that a single maternal stressor
was able to affect the DNA of their offspring. Now that we know this happens in humans, we
can go back into history and see what we can learn from these epigenetic changes. Using
the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children in England — a study of 14,000 pregnant
women, their husbands and children — found men who smoked during PUBERTY (way before
they sired a kid) birthed sons who were fatter than average, even from those who started
smoking later. Daughters were fine, but for some reason, the methylation affected the
boys. A famine-feast cycle in 19th-century Sweden
altered the DNA of kids born as late as 1905. Grandfathers who were over-nourished just
before puberty, had grandchildren who were at risk of early death. What about the Great
Depression here in the States? How did my grandmother living through that affect ME?!
The 9/11 attacks too! What about going into space? How will that affect future humans
and THEIR epigenetics?

100 comments on “How Your Mom’s Stress Is Now Your Stress

  1. kittenswithbows Post author

    Great to see you guys presenting serious science findings.
    The balance has been a bit off lately

  2. Prometheus Complex Post author

    This isn't Science. Not at all.
    Science has one requirement: Falsifiable Testing.
    When you remove Falsifiable Testing, it just becomes "Manufactured Correlations".
    If a claim isn't privy to Falsifiable Testing, then it tautologically isn't Science.
    Correlations and Consensus taken as fact fall directly into Sophist Anti-science Formal Fallacy territory.
    It just saddens me how far fake-nerds and fake-geeks have fallen. They've never understood Science and Logic and it shows.
    To them, Science is assumption back by correlation and consensus… which is the exact opposite of science.
    That is what the Scientific method was created to combat. 
    Every single one of these frauds, from DDN to the Green Brothers, etc… all oblivious and ignorant of the Scientific method.
    This "I'm a geek/nerd that loves Science too! I'm smart" fad has gotten out of control.
    Name me 50 Scientists if you LOVE Science. Tell me the history and importance the of the Scientific method.
    The Frankfort School of "Science is bad, consensus and correlations are good" Pseudo-science has completely destroyed everything except the technological sciences.
    I give up. No believes in Falsifiable Testing anymore. 

  3. Nocturnus Schwartstein Post author

    Epigenetics == Genetic Memory. Remember that.

    However, with all these factors taken into account, I propose we start growing people in artificial wombs, to eliminate any possibility of stress causing unfavorable behaviors in future humans.

  4. Sisrace Post author

    Mother has a HUGE stress problem and stresses out for nothing, I pretty much never get stressed exept when i sleep over and im about to miss the bus or something.. 
    I guess i was really lucky?

  5. seuss malourny Post author

    I'm still so curious about the kids with different immune system. What if they're immune to some kinds of diseases. They're probably not not but it would be cool if they were.

  6. Jessica Hernandez Post author

    Can u guys look into this. Why some times your body feels like it got stung and u have the sudden urge to scratch it

  7. Alex Bird Post author

    Hey Trace, how about the study about how the good and VERY good things affects DNA, why we only study the things that hurt us, how about opposite? There's like zero studies about the opposite. Seriously, what the heck?

  8. MoonPhaseTarot Post author

    So your saying…our thoughts amd actions actually do affect people and the world around us? Wow. sorry for the sarcasm but this is knowledge from the ancients. We are realizing now through science that energy does exist, Our thoughts are powerful, what we do does matter, peace is important….ok, that's the end of my hippie speech. Over and out.

  9. Ethan Smith Post author

    I have a theory. Perhaps this altered DNA changes the behavior of offspring such that they would receive a survival advantage in a dangerous stressful environment.

  10. Mich Rain Post author

    Questions like the ones in the end of the video are exactly the kind of questions I like to have spinning in my mind, it's so interesting to think about all the possibilities! Humans born in space won't be at all like their earth-born brethren but what will make them different? x )

  11. Hannah Drury Post author

    So if your pregnant don't watch horror movies.. or go to Africa… watch the news… or volunteer to do anything… or go anywhere near natural disasters… and if your a guy don't smoke or your kids will be fat

  12. Naturenerd1000 Post author

    Biology class is lying to us and is out dated because they still say what you do or the events you experienced will not effect the genes or DNA of your off spring. This is also still on standardized test. For example they say if you exercise and if you have big muscles your off spring will not be in better shape and no genes or DNA will be changed.  Now they have to update it. That's the problem with standardized things when they give everyone the wrong information it is hard to change the curriculum and now millions of people are told an out dated lie!!! 

  13. BallisticTomato Post author

    This makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint! Imagine a parent raising a child in a dangerous environment, stressed out and scared for themselves and their children. It would make sense for the children to share their jumpiness and stress so as to protect them from the environment, right?

  14. Encoded Exo Post author

    I figured my mom was stressed, it's pretty obvious , but I thought being a teen wasn't supposed to be the Most stressful part of life.

  15. Austin Post author

    Most of kids' stress is from the school system. Schools need to start a revolution on making kids actually want to go to school instead of dreading it.

  16. Lars Erik Volden Post author

    Oh my zod, you look so shaved. What happened, did you get sponsored by those shaving kit guys too?

  17. TenLetters123 Post author

    Trace looks different.
    Pseudo-dilated eyes, the way he acts just seems different. Maybe he's on drugs.

    Just kidding. Pretty sure he just shaved.

  18. tunnis7us Post author

    I have heard about this issue years ago so it's not news to me. Anybody interested more about this go to wikipedia and search Dutch famine of 1944

  19. 20 Goto 10 Post author

    So, environmental stresses on the mother affect the development of the baby on a genetic level. Basically, the body thinks something's wrong, so it makes a few changes to ensure the offspring a better chance at survival. Makes sense, happens to other animals too.

  20. Tharkz Post author

    The opposite is also true. Having too little real issues to be stressed about tend to make people bitch and complain over stupid things. AKA 1st world problems 🙂

  21. Shawn Ravenfire Post author

    So, epigenetics is like red kryptonite.  We don't know how it's going to affect you, but it's going to do something.

  22. jjsatterwhite Post author

    I think you all forgot to mention some more important time periods, like slavery and the holocaust. I bet those periods changed more DNA than the moon landing.

  23. audekevi Post author

    I was in that  storm in Quebec. No electricity for 3 weeks, the first days were kinda fun. It was like camping. But after a week,of washing in cold water,making food and heating with fire, it got pretty hard on our mood. But it was a great experience of "survival" even if we were not really in danger.

  24. shaniceannetoni Post author

    There's a term in Tagalog called "Pinaglihi sa sama ng loob". I don't think there is any direct translation to the word "pinaglihi" but it's basically getting similar characteristics of something your mother encounters a lot while you're still in the womb. "Sama ng loob" directly translates to bad (sama) feelings (loob=inside) but it means contempt. So when someone says you are "pinaglihi sa sama ng loob" that means you're someone who always have a bad temper or always sad 🙁

  25. Sebastian Gomez Post author

    I don't know if this is just a mexican belief but my whole family has known for an awfully long time. We believe emotions a pregnant woman generally tends to feel during pregnancy most likely will become the main characteristics or feelings that the child has. For example my mom was always furios w/ my dad while she was pregers w/ my bro, now he is quick to anger and it sticks with hin for quite a while, has his whole life.

  26. Bick Barl Post author

    Your making me stressed

    So my mom is stressed a lot in general(that may of started after my birth) and was stuck in Mexico when 9/11 happened

    Ya think I'm gonna be stressful?

  27. Ⰲⰵⱍⱀⰰ Ⰿⰰⰽⰵⰴⱁⱀⰻⱑ Post author

    That is actually true cuz my mom is stressful and when she is around i am stressful too 🙂

  28. Angela Chezick Post author

    My mum did not do pregnancy well. She was extremely sick while pregnant with me and 4 years later with my younger sister. I now have a slew of health problems and no one can work out why. This could be the explanation to most of my problems but one.

  29. mitchiemasha Post author

    HUH, i'd of thought this would of been the most obvious logical way of thinking about it. Why they thought the other in the past is beyond me.

  30. yoaint knomee Post author

    How is this the first time that scientists can show a single maternal "stresser" in humans can affect their offspring genetically when my sociology textbook from three semesters ago talked about this exact outcome from a similar 'snowed in' scenario involving pregnant women in Europe about 50 years ago?

  31. Kyle Kliamovich Post author

    Its very funny how your parents stress reactions, mannerisms etc become yours.  I hardly knew my father, mabby 3 years when I was a kid, and I grew up in foster care.  I ahve the same mannerisms as him, and deal with stress in a combination between my mother and father.  My father did a lot of shady things, and pissed alot of people off, so my mannerisms tend to remind ppl of that and it gets alot of people mad at me.  >_<  Still very interesting.

  32. Eric Fortune Post author

    Also see the TED Talk   "Annie Murphy Paul:  What we learn before we're born"   on the Dutch Hunger Winter, or for a great compilation of people talking about nature via nurture I highly recommend the documentary Zeitgeist Moving Forward.

  33. Capt Snuggles Post author

    dnews, my dad has this thing where he warns me not to shower immediately after prolong periods of time spent in front of a computer screen
     i was just curious if it actually harms my eyes. 

  34. Capt Snuggles Post author

    are there any negative outcomes of shower immediately after any amount of exercise? By negative i mean stress on the muscles, does it affect the skin, or eyes, etc

  35. Vanessa Cherche Post author

    Could mitochondrial DNA have any connection? Does stress affect the offspring in this manner?

  36. Fankas2000 Post author

    I love the fact that basically we have to pay for our parents and grandparents life style choices 🙁

  37. Donovan Frost Post author

    They need to do this study with a control group. If that's even possible given that even someone with a very mellow, unstressful life probably had recent ancestors that had traumatic experiences at some point in their lives.

  38. Disabled Unicorn Post author

    Answer to those crazy questions can be found in the Book "The evolving self" by Chikzentmihaly.

  39. Astro Kam Post author

    if a mom yells at there kids. And the mom yells and gets stress, the more moms yell and stress the more worse it will. And gets kids stress

  40. im a slut for drake Post author

    even though my moms 36 she is like my older sister by 2 years. shes not the average white soccor mom

  41. bobskie321 Post author

    If stress can be passed down from mother to child it is possible that other environmental factors can be passed down as well. Example when our ancestors from Africa who have darker skin due to the sun shines directly above them, when they migrated to Europe where the sun is low on the horizon affects their offspring which after few thousand years gradually turned white common in Europe today. So it's not adopt or die where people with darker skin die in colder climate while lighter skin survive and pass their advantage to their offspring.


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