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:8/22/2017)... ... August 22, 2017 , ... “Covert Awakening”: Walid’s spiritual journey ... author, Julianne Hale, a consultant for the Intelligence Community. For more than ... the Near East region. Julianne has written hundreds of reports for the ...
(Date:8/22/2017)... ... August 22, 2017 , ... John Stewart joins Privis Health ... for t4 Leadership Development & Consulting. He has spent his career focusing on ... leadership development, servant leadership, data driven process improvement, and supportive technology. These key ...
(Date:8/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 22, 2017 , ... “Call Of ... Duty” is the creation of published author, C.S. Lizarde. Growing up on the ... untimely trials. When Carlos began to apply the Biblical keys to his life, ...
(Date:8/21/2017)... ... , ... PracticeMatch, a company that provides online resources , job ... practitioners like nurse practitioners and physician assistants , will conduct its ... year. The online career fairs will allow job seekers to connect with healthcare employers ...
(Date:8/21/2017)... ... August 22, 2017 , ... ... Stevens as a 2017-2018 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year ... is the nation’s leading networking organization exclusively for professional women, boasting more than ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/7/2017)... , Aug. 7, 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... Joel Saban as president, effective Aug. 7, 2017. ... has decided to pursue other interests and will serve as ... tenure, Paul has served us in multiple leadership roles since ... in Jun. 2015 and has provided decisive, strategic leadership which ...
(Date:8/4/2017)... 4, 2017 The search for test results ... physician/patient consult has long been the goal of healthcare ... focus of the largest meeting of lab professionals and ... market research firm Kalorama Information.  The firm said scores ... or related supplies and software were at the American ...
(Date:8/2/2017)... AROMAS, Calif. , Aug. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... by Continental Who,s Who as a Pinnacle Lifetime ... currently the Key Account Manager at Turing Pharmaceuticals, ... communications, negotiations, troubleshooting and relationship building.                ... has more than 25 years of experience ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: