Dads have a lot to answer for. A study conducted with mice suggests that a woman’s risk of anxiety and dysfunctional social behavior may depend on the experiences of her parents, particularly fathers, when they were young. The study suggests that stress caused by chronic social instability during youth contributes to changes in sperm cells that can lead to psychiatric disorders in female offspring across multiple generations.

Researcher Lorena Saavedra-Rodríguez says, "The long-term effects of stress can be pernicious. We first found that adolescent mice exposed to chronic social instability, where the cage composition of mice is constantly changing, exhibited anxious behavior and poor social interactions through adulthood. These changes were especially prominent in female mice."

Even though the stressed males did not express any of these altered behaviors, they passed on these behaviors to their female offspring after being mated to non-stressed females. Moreover, the male offspring passed on these behaviors to yet another generation of female offspring.

Researcher Larry A. Feig says, "We are presently searching for biochemical changes in the sperm of stressed fathers that could account for this newly appreciated form of inheritance. Hopefully, this work will stimulate efforts to determine whether similar phenomena occur in humans."

Stress? In HUMANS, this can be caused by Visitor Experiences, but they’re not necessarily bad, just strange. Subscribers who want to learn all about it can listen to twenty-one of these extraordinary interviews.

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