GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 52


grand finale

Genetics: what happens at Grandma's ...

A

s you may remember from biology classes of long
ago, every cell in your body starts off with a genetic
"blank slate" and is then given its unique instructions
to develop as a neuron, or a liver cell, or a skin cell, and so on.
And, until recently, scientists thought that the DNA sequencing
that was passed from one generation to the next was stabilized
at the time of conception-that all genetic markers unrelated to
how DNA sequencing needed to occur had been removed.
However, a relatively new field of behavioral epigenetics
("above genetics") has developed in response to discoveries that
internal or external experiences occurring throughout your lifetime can leave small markers or "epigenetic tags" that cling to
your DNA and are passed on to future generations.
Epigenetic studies on ancestors who survived periods of
starvation revealed that nutrient deprivation caused epigenetic
changes that seemed to make the bodies of future generations
more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular problems; and
that these epigenetic tags could pass through at least three generations before being expunged.
Negative experiences, such as early childhood neglect or
abuse, may create epigenetic tags that affect a wide array of personality traits, including temperament and intelligence. An infant
PHOTOCREDIT: ALISON MACKEY/DISCOVER
who is cuddled and nurtured may have lower stress levels that
get passed on to future generations. Some behavioral epigenetic
studies are now focusing on whether poverty, lack of stimulation related to lower stress levels, and the beneficial effects of
or nurturance, and an unstable home environment create epigen- exercise may leave positive tags related to muscle and tissue.
So spend lots of time nurturing and offering positive growth
etic tags that limit the next generation's brain development.
experiences for your grandchildren, helping them lead active,
well-nourished lives (keeping them safe from harmful subWhat you do matters
stances, such as BPA), and you'll be leaving future generations
The good news is that positive experiences, such as being
the kinds of DNA markers that will lead to happy, healthier
loved and nurtured in early childhood - and throughout your
lives for generations to come.
life - creates positive epigenetic tags for future generations
52 GRAND

SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2016

CONNECT WITH GRAND

Read a book
to live longer!
In studying 3,635 people over age 50,
scientists found that those who read
books up to 3.5 hours a week were
17 % less likely to die over 12 years
of follow-up than those who did not
read; and those who read 3.5+ hours a
week were 23 % less likely to die. Book
readers lived an average of almost two
years longer than those who did not
read at all. "People who report as little
as a half-hour a day of book reading
had a significant survival advantage
over those who did not read," said the
senior author, Becca R. Levy, a professor
of epidemiology at Yale.

Thank you for reading
this issue of GRAND!
Grand's editor, Susan Reynolds is a journalist and
magazine editor who has authored or edited more than
45 nonfiction books, including Fire Up Your Writing
Brain, Train Your Brain to Get Happy and Meditation
for Moms. Ms. Reynolds was the creator and editor
of Adams Media┬╣s My Hero anthology series (Mother,
Father, Teacher, Dog) and Woodstock Revisited.


https://www.facebook.com/GRANDmagazine/ https://www.twitter.com/grandMmagazine https://www.pinterest.com/GRANDmagazine2/ https://plus.google.com/114746402480325356757 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953616303689 http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Your-Writing-Brain-Neuroscience/dp/1599639149/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446514204&sr=1-1&keywords=fire+up+your+writing+brain http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Your-Writing-Brain-Neuroscience/dp/1599639149/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446514204&sr=1-1&keywords=fire+up+your+writing+brain https://www.amazon.com/Train-Your-Brain-Get-Happy/dp/1440511810/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016

Contents
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 1
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 2
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 3
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 5
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 6
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 7
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 8
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 9
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