Episode 59

How Parental Trauma Can Affect The Offspring with Dr. Tracy Bale, PhD

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In this episode of the MGC podcast, I talk to Dr. Tracy Bale. Dr. Bale’s research focuses on understanding the role of stress dysregulation in the development of the nervous system and in neuropsychiatric diseases, as well as the sex differences that underlie disease vulnerability in humans. Her extensive body of work provides a new revolutionary understanding of the effects of adverse life experiences across the lifespan, starting at the preconception level.

Dr Bale is the Anschutz Foundation Endowed Chair in Women’s Integrated Mental and Physical Health Research at the Ludeman Center, in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado. She is also Professor and Director for Intergenerational Stress and Health, and the Director for Sex Differences Research in the Department of Psychiatry.

In this episode, we speak about a wide range of topics which are profoundly influenced by Social Genomics, including:

  1. The multiple ways by which stressful environments that a woman experiences preconception, during pregnancy and during early development can influence the behavior and health of the offspring.
  2. The novel signaling mechanisms that play a role in individuals experiencing trauma that can modify not only their behavior but also certain organs, like the skin for example.
  3. The biological and behavioral ways of transmitting parental experiences to the offspring, behavioral ways including maternal-infant interactions, attachment styles, etc. which are the most important biological mechanisms.
  4. What is germ cell mediated transmission?
  5. What role do transgenerational transmission mechanisms play in populations that have been exposed to severe trauma (e.g. Holocaust) or persistent severe trauma (e.g. Afghanistan, Palestine).
  6. How does resilience counteract the biological mechanisms discussed here?