That COVID-19 pandemic was a mass traumatic event with ongoing mental health effects that could last longer than the rest of our lives. Dr. Bianca Jones Marlin of Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute says the descendants of trauma survivors can be shaped by their ancestral experiences.
“It is very important to recognize that science is motivated by scientists … It is so important to include other aspects, experiences and stories in science. As a first generation black woman, I have a keen awareness of how class and caste can play a role in epigenetics. ”-DR. Bianca Jones Marlin, Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute
Listen: How our own trauma today can live on in our descendants.
Dr. Bianca Jones Marlin is Associate Professor and Principal Investigator of the Marlin Lab at the Zuckerman Institute at Columbia University. She says that the traumatic experiences of our ancestors can be passed on through epigenetic markers and affect our own health. “One of the best-studied cases of trauma remembered in the epigenome … is the Dutch starvation winter … after the world war II the population starved dramatically for nine months … Scientists discovered that the children and grandchildren of men who starved were [that winter] their offspring suffered from metabolic problems … the children and grandchildren were prepared to live in a country where there was no food. “
Marlin says it’s not just biology that motivates this legacy, it’s how society treats certain populations. “A lot of the trauma we talk about are really stressors … when it comes to. goes [the] traumatic aspect, it is really a personal perception. This is because we have groups that we consider resilient … it is important to address the specificity of the trauma. ”
Marlin says there are composite insights into racial and class differences that science has never seen before. “It is very important to recognize that science is motivated by scientists … It is so important to bring other aspects, experiences and stories into science. As a first generation black woman, I have a keen awareness of how class and caste can play a role in epigenetics. ”She says that when we see these epigenetic trauma markers in our children, it’s all about mitigating everything we do be able. “I may not be able to prevent my children from coming from enslaved people … but the internal environment of our home … may be the environment that changes the epigenetic factors.”
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