The phenomenon has long been known in psychology: traumatic experiences can induce behavioural disorders that are passed down from one generation to the next. It is only recently that scientists have begun to understand the physiological processes underlying hereditary trauma. “There are diseases such as bipolar disorder, that run in families but can’t be traced back to a particular gene”, explains Isabelle Mansuy, professor at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. With her research group at the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich, she has been studying the molecular processes involved in non-genetic inheritance of behavioural symptoms induced by traumatic experiences in early life.
About the Author: Dr Ramesh Manocha
Dr Ramesh Manocha MBBS BSc (med) PhD is a GP, educator and researcher. His PhD was completed at the Royal Hospital for Women and focused on the scientific evaluation of meditation and the mental silence experience. Ramesh is currently a senior lecturer at the Department of Psychiatry at Sydney University and is also the founder and convenor of Generation Next, a national circuit of professional development seminars for education, health and welfare professionals.