top of page

Give Yourself a House Cleaning

From eNewsletter 4/3/2019

DID YOU KNOW that a new study on intergenerational transmission of trauma has found evidence that Holocaust survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and their adult offspring exhibit more unhealthy behavior patterns and age less successfully in comparison to survivors with no signs of PTSD or parents who did not experience the Holocaust and their offspring?

Now that they are mostly middle aged or older adults, offspring of Holocaust survivors may be assessed to determine whether ancestral trauma lingers on to affect their aging process. The results from Psychiatry Research provide important data not just about Holocaust survivors and their offspring, but also in general about aging individuals who were exposed to massive trauma.

This intergenerational transmission happens via epigenetics, or the messaging sent to our genes that switch mutations on or off. Trauma legacies can make the messaging more positive by adhering to optimal lifestyle choices!


Bonnie & Steve: The body's ability to adapt to changing conditions and shifting physiologic demands is essential to survival. To do so, each cell must be able to dispose of damaged or unnecessary proteins, a quality control mechanism critical for cellular performance and for the health of the entire human being. Intense exercise and intermittent fasting can activate cells' built-in protein disposal system and enhance their ability to purge defective, toxic or unneeded proteins. Malfunctions in the cells' protein-disposal machinery can lead to the accumulation of misfolded proteins, which clog up the cell, interfere with its functions and, over time, precipitate the development of diseases, including neurodegenerative conditions such as ALS and Alzheimer's. The PNAS findings reveal a previously unknown mechanism used by the body to rapidly turn on the molecular machinery responsible for junk-protein removal. This mechanism is triggered by fluctuations in hormone levels, which signal changes in physiologic conditions, such as physical activity or longer periods of time without calories. Following exercise and intermittent fasting, cells showed dramatically more molecular marks of enhanced protein degradation in the study. When researchers exposed the liver cells to glucagon, which is the opposite of insulin. Glucagon stimulates the production of glucose as fuel for cells and tissues during periods of fasting or whenever blood sugar levels drop down. Glucagon exposure stimulated the cells' capacity to destroy junky, misfolded proteins. Similarly, with physical activity, epinephrine levels were elevated and increased destruction of junky, misfolded proteins. Epinephrine is the hormone associated with the "fight or flight" feeling.

A fascinating explanation for one of the many reasons why physical activity and giving your organs a rest from breaking down food is healthful.


Steve: Why animals sleep, despite the continuous threat of predators, still remains a mystery, and is considered among the biggest unanswered questions in life sciences...this article is reserved for NCI Well Connect Members. You can get this article by signing up here. You can get our free eNewsletter by signing up at the top of our website.


bottom of page