Navigation Links
'Resilience Gene' May Save Kids in Troubled Families
Date:2/16/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Children who carry a variant of a so-called "resilience gene" get along much better with their troubled parents -- those who have substance abuse, mental health or criminal problems -- than those without the gene, a new study suggests.

Assessing 226 children aged 9 to 17, researchers at Duke University Medical Center said the findings could explain genetically why some children in problematic families manage to maintain enjoyable relationships with their parents while others are blighted by the experience.

The scientists tested the premise that opioids -- naturally occurring "feel-good" brain chemicals -- help moderate social interactions in humans. Youngsters with the variant of the mu-opioid gene receptor were more influenced by the opioids than typical children, prodding them to create better parent-child relationships despite strife, lead author William Copeland said.

"Part of the reason we find relationships so positive and reinforcing is there are endogenous opioids released that affect that," said Copeland, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke. "People who have that variant experience more of that reward."

When these children are in a negative home environment, "there's almost a withdrawal effect -- so they do what they can to elicit positive interactions from their parents," Copeland said. "It's like the brain is saying, 'I used to feel this very positive state, now I'm not experiencing that anymore and I'd like to get back to that.'"

The study is reported in the Feb. 16 online issue of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

The mu-opioid receptor gene, known as OPRM1, has previously been associated with social behaviors in mice and rhesus monkeys. In Copeland's study, participants underwent DNA tests and answered questions about their enjoyment of parent-child activities, arguments and separation anxiety symptoms over the prior three months.

A measurement of "parental impairment" was derived by choosing difficulties such as substance abuse, mental health conditions or criminal problems that would predispose parents to be inconsistent, impaired or unavailable for relationships with their children.

More than 59 percent of the children had a parent reporting at least one of these difficulties, according to the study. About one-third carried the OPRM1 gene variant.

Over a three-month period, children with the variant who lived in problematic households reported significantly fewer arguments and far more enjoyable interactions with their parents than did children without it, although no such association was found in children who came from stable homes.

"I am generally a skeptic about being able to find these [genetic] markers," Copeland said, noting surprise at his results. "When we make a hypothesis, by no means do we know what the answer is going to be. Otherwise we wouldn't have asked the question."

Robert Plomin, a research professor and deputy director of the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Center at King's College London in England, said it was interesting to learn that the opioid gene variant is associated with parent-child relationships only when parents have problems.

"Although it's a plausible finding, we need to be wary because the [study] sample is relatively small, especially when the sample is divided by whether or not parents had problems," Plomin said. "Reports of simple associations such as a gene variant associated with parent-child relations have been notoriously difficult to replicate and this is especially the case when an interaction is reported . . . only for a particular subsample."

More information

Learn more about behavioral genetics from the Human Genome Project.

SOURCES: William Copeland, Ph.D., associate professor, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Duke University Medical School, Durham, N.C.; Robert Plomin, Ph.D., research professor and deputy director, Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Center, Kings College London, England; Feb. 16, 2011, Neuropsychopharmacology online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Some Adversity in Life Seems to Help Build Resilience
2. Hurricane Katrinas effects on children: Resilience and gender
3. Rwandan genocide survivors provide new insights into resilience and PTSD
4. Method of DNA repair linked to higher likelihood of genetic mutation
5. Gene that regulates immune system linked to preeclampsia
6. Playtime helps bind generations
7. Homogeneous tuberculosis treatment ineffective in children, UT Southwestern researchers find
8. Gene protects lung from damage due to pneumonia, sepsis, trauma, transplants
9. New data obtained on liposomes employed in drug encapsulation and gene therapies
10. Speedy generic approval may not benefit consumers as much as expected, Rotman model shows
11. CSHL study unmasks a stem cell origin of skin cancer and the genetic roots of malignancy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Resilience Gene' May Save Kids  in Troubled Families
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Radiology Business Management Association will select the ... annual Building Better Radiology Marketing Programs conference, held this year from March ... Nine awards are given out in five categories. They are:, , ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... Castle Farms, the celebrated Northern ... with the winning couple announced on Feb. 14, 2017, on Facebook. The free ... vendors: A Matter of Taste, Ryan Rousseau Enterprises, A Touch of Spring and ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... ... The 89th Academy Awards will be celebrated this weekend, which means it’s also ... We invite you to enjoy our 11th annual tongue-in-cheek “salute” to the shoddiest think ... American Progress (CAP), for its report, Lessons From State Performance on NAEP: Why Some ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... , ... The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) is pleased to announce KLS ... longtime supporter of the event. , "We are pleased that KLS Martin is joining ... 2017 ACPA President. "KLS Martin has a long track record of support of the ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... , media relations, content marketing, social media management, corporate communications, SEO and cause ... the state and in nearby New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Canada, Rosica will focus ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... 2017 Medical information groups within the ... self-service capabilities to manage inquiries from external stakeholders ... New research from consulting leader Best Practices, LLC ... website portals where HCPs can sign on and ... many findings to emerge from the new study ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... 24. Februar 2017 ITL Limited, ( ... Gesundheitsbereiches, ist erfreut, für das zum 31. Dezember ... Vorjahreszeitraum exzellente Ergebnisse vorlegen zu können. Eine vollständige ... Wachstum" finden Sie hier . ... Steuern 2,12 Millionen USD (Dez. 2015: 1,04 Millionen USD; +104 %) ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... Feb. 23, 2017 Non-alcoholic steatohepataitis ... the various drugs being developed for the ... the drugs that are in various phases ... pipeline focuses on novel pharmacologic drugs & ... cell therapies, recombinant proteins and RNA-based therapeutics, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: