Friday, July 12, 2013


Wow! Every day there is something new to be learned thanks to ongoing research in the connection between childhood maltreatment and adult physical illness. 

Today's term is epigenetics which is the study of the process by which genetic information is translated into the substance and behavior of an organism: specifically, the study of the way in which the expression of heritable traits is modified by environmental influences or other mechanisms without a change to the DNA sequence.

According to researchers at the National Human Geonome Research Institute, a study evaluating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults reveals:

At the biological level, these individuals may be very distinct, as we see with the epigenetics. As we move forward with more personalized medicine, we will need to delve a bit further into the environment and history of each individual to understand the biology of their PTSD and to determine the best treatment for their disorder. - Dr. Divya Mehta, corresponding author at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry.

Aha! Delve a bit further into the environment and history of each individual...YES! 

The study continues to explain that this is not limited to PTSD, but to cancer, autoimmune system disorders, and mental health issues that were essentially 'rubber-stamped' in our biology if we were neglected and/or abused either physically or emotionally during childhood. 

I learn something new every day. And to finally have evidence that my own biologic markers were altered due to the neglect and maltreatment I suffered as a child makes my dis-ease NOT MY FAULT! 

As Rosalind Joffee, The Chronic Illness Career Coach, offered recently in an article guest-authored in her company's newsletter entitled "Are You the Cause of Your Chronic Illness", certain researchers concluded that many of us "develop[ed] illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result of suppressing their feelings in order to keep peace with others.”  

Excuse me, but that's a load of bull crap because as the writer continues: "This implies that chronically ill people cause their disease and failure to improve is their fault."  There is absolutely no science to support this.

"Also," says she, "in my experience, this kind of blaming  is counterproductive for someone who is struggling to improve her health."

Yes, ma'am. Let's do our best to make sick people think they caused it or deserved it (tongue planted firmly in cheek). How would one explain that in the case of an ill baby? What did they do in the womb? 

What I have learned is that disease (or dis-ease) can be correlated to certain events in one's life as well as be labeled as entirely random. As a wise man once said to me as I was railing against my critical illness and crying out the question "why me," he simply said, "why not you?" And why not, indeed? 

People get sick and for a variety of reasons. While writing my book I literally stumbled across research that linked childhood maltreatment with adult physical illness. In my own personal case, I believe it to be spot on. 

Let's not blame ourselves. Let's remember we are here for a reason and continue living to make a difference however small or large. 

That's my rant for today. So deal with it. 

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