What is epigenetics, and what implications does it have for the field of psychology?
During our gestation and after we are born our genes are not static – they continually interact with the many stimuli and stresses of our world.
Due to the interaction of life with our genes, some genes may change how they are expressed – they can either up-regulate or down-regulate to switch on or off (known as ‘methylation’ and ‘acetylation’). It is this process which is known as epigenetics a, b.
Nature vs Nurture?
As we grow older, we make decisions that affect how we perceive and interact with life. In turn, the combination of our decisions and our DNA can affect our behaviour, emotions, and attitudes. These can combine to produce detrimental metabolic changes in our brain.
Identifying key aspects of our personality and behaviour can assist us to make plans for positive changes. We can find ways to re-balance and regulate the genes that govern our neuronal metabolism c.
If you are interested in making the science of epigenetics work for you, I have a special interest in this area and can assist you to make a plan that suits your needs.
Author: David Hardwick, B Psych (Hons), MPHIL.
David Hardwick is a Brisbane psychotherapist with a background in nursing and psychology, in practice and academia. He has a special interest in men’s health, as well as the science and application of epigenetics.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3067 9129
- (a) Kubota, T., Miyake, K., & Hirasawa, T. (2012). Epigenetic understanding of gene-environment interactions in psychiatric disorders: a new concept of clinical genetics. Clinical Epigenetics, 4(1), 1-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22414323
- (b) Read, J, Bentall, R.P. & Fosse, R. (2009). Time to abandon the bio-bio-bio model of psychosis: Exploring the epigenetic and psychological mechanisms by which adverse life events lead to psychotic symptoms. Epidemiology & Psychiatric Sciences, 18(4), 229-310. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1121189X00000257
- (c) Forlenza, O.V., De-Paula, V.J.R. & Diniz, B.S.O. (2014). Neuroprotective effects of Lithium: Implications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 5(6). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4063497/