Thought I’d share a Slashdot headline that hit my e-mail today.
Researchers have discovered that stress experienced by male mice can be passed on to their offspring. “In earlier work, these scientists exposed male mice to six weeks of alternating stressors like 36 hours of constant light, a 15-minute exposure to fox odor, exposure to a novel object (marbles) overnight, 15 minutes of restraint in a 50 mL conical tube, multiple cage changes, white noise all night long, or saturated bedding.
Then the scientists allowed the mice to breed (abstract). Adult offspring of these chronically stressed dads had reduced hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress axis reactivity; when they themselves were restrained for 15 minutes, they did not make as much corticosterone as mice sired by relaxed dads. This is relevant, and problematic, because blunted stress responses in humans are associated with neuropsychiatric disorders like depression, schizophrenia, and autism.”
Still, it is a little discomfiting that I’m only a day or so ahead of the news cycle. It’s not quite visionary if they’re already finishing and publishing experiments to confirm what I said the previous weekend.
Clearly somebody else is paying attention though, which is heartening.