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:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Dr. Sadati’s recent feature in ... Along with performing procedures, the magazine also highlights that Dr. Sadati has pioneered ... of the most common procedures he performs is his natural facelift. “As people ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... The president ... DoD Military Health System but would shift more of the cost burden to military ... TRICARE-reform plan laid out in the defense budget as including limited quantifiable benefit fixes ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... and women’s health, is pleased to announce the promotions of Allison Kelly to ... team, Steve Catone to executive vice president of North American capital sales, and ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Laurel, NJ (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 ... ... announces the call for nominations seeking candidates for the Board of Commissioners. Individuals ... with passion, skills and experience with diversity of clinical practice settings and across ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... of a master charity program created to assist the people of their local ... closely with nonprofit organizations and community leaders. Their hope is to bring awareness ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , Feb. 11, 2016  Kindred ... focused on saving and improving the lives of pets, ... Technical Section of the New Animal Drug Application (NADA) ... the pivotal field study (KB0120) of Zimeta for the ... by the Company. --> ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , Feb. 11, 2016   ... the advancement of new health technologies, announced today " ... outstanding achievements in health tech over the past ten ... For nearly a decade, Health 2.0 has served ... and showcased and connected with thousands of technologies, companies, ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016  MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDXG ... membrane and other birth tissues, human skin and bone, ... market advanced products and therapies, announced today that it ... Healthcare Conference in New York , ... Michael J. Senken , Chief Financial Officer and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: