[Paleopsych] It pays to lick the rich

Val Geist kendulf at shaw.ca
Thu Jul 29 00:15:03 UTC 2004

This is a quick one, Howard. Here you are on the same trail I was when I first saw that the rich in human society are the usually the biological dispersal phenotype. Indeed, the rich are notoriously our pioneers! And they are BIOLOGICALLY! structured to be that way thanks to luxurious nutrition beginning with conception. See my old Life Strategies...(1978) book on this issue, chapter 6 entitled "How genes communicate with the environment - the biology of inequity" . Yes, yes and yes again to your musings. You are on track. Cheers, Val Geist

----- Original Message ----- 
  From: HowlBloom at aol.com 
  To: paleopsych at paleopsych.org 
  Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 6:51 AM
  Subject: [Paleopsych] It pays to lick the rich

        Can the balance of nerve growth factor and of glucorticoids be one of the stress balancers in the brain, the ones Iâ?Tve been hunting down, the one that can cave in in chronic fatigue syndrome?


        Different strokes produce different folksâ?"provided those folks are rats.

        A loving mother, a mother who pets and licks you, makes you confident.  A skittish mother who hesitates to touch you preordains you to be easily spooked.  Hugsâ?"or the lack of themâ?"change the way genes function.  Those genes boost or block nerve growth factor and the way your brain handles stress hormones. This reset of genes resets something granderâ?"personality.


        Pulling out to look at the slightly larger picture, if your mother was under lots of threat and was too nervous to cuddle you, you may well be born into the high-risk world that made her so distraught.  In a world filled with danger, it may make sense to be fearful and hide.  On the other hand, if your mom felt rosy, confident, and on top of her world, she may have been cruising along in an atmosphere of privilege, abundance, and safety.  If youâ?Tre born into her sphere of rank and guaranteed plenty, confident exploration may be a luxury you can well afford.


        Earlier research once convinced me that the rich do much to explore the strange on our behalf.  They play status games by competing to own things that are rare and strange.  As a consequence, they act as antennae, feeding novelty and fresh possibilities into our brains.  The status symbols of the rich are often goods from exotic cultures or from mine shafts half way round the world, shafts in diamond or titanium tunnels it takes a huge investment to excavate.  Or the rich go for ancient masterpieces and archaelogical treasures from digs in obscure places and from layers left by the people of even more obscure periods of time.  The rich, with their smug self-confidence bring riches like the rarities at the Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum, the Louvre, the Getty, and the Tate into the mainstream.


        Itâ?Ts a drag to praise the rich for anything.  They have so much more money than you and me that envyâ?Ts more the order of the day.  But apparently if their momsâ?"or nanniesâ?"lick them regularly, they can boldly buy where no man has bought before, and in the process add to our middle-class lives.  Howard

        Retrieved July 28, 2004, from the World Wide Web 


         Science News Online  Week of July 17, 2004; Vol. 166, No. 3 Groomed DNA Handles Threats: Mothering styles alter rats' stress responses  Bruce Bower  A rodent mother can't scold or praise her offspring, but her approach to mothering lays a genetic foundation for her pups' life-long response to threats, neuroscientists have found.  Rats raised by moms who frequently lick and groom them undergo permanent changes in patterns of gene activity, leading to a penchant for exploratory behavior in stressful situations, say Michael J. Meaney and his colleagues at McGill University in Montreal.  In contrast, rats raised with little maternal contact end up with gene activity that fosters fearfulness in the face of stress, the researchers report in the August Nature Neuroscience. From an evolutionary perspective, having both behaviors in a population is beneficial.  "Early experience can have lifelong consequences on behavior, and [this new report] reveals the genetic scaffolding of this phenomenon to an unprecedented extent," remarks neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University.  Meaney's group previously showed that female rats express either a high- or a low-contact mothering style. Animals raised with lots of physical contact later react to stress by secreting small amounts of glucocorticoids, a class of stress hormones. These rats also possess large numbers of glucocorticoid receptors in an inner-brain structure called the hippocampus. Rats raised with little physical contact secrete large amounts of glucocorticoids when stressed and possess relatively few receptors for these hormones.  In another study, Meaney's group found that pups raised by doting mothers had high concentrations of a substance called nerve growth factorâ?"inducible protein A (NGFI-A) in their hippocampi. It attaches to genes for glucocorticoid receptors, boosting those genes' capacity to regulate the hormone's secretion.  The researchers' new report shows how NGFI-A offers stress-fighting aid only to pampered rats. On the first day after birth, in all the rat pups, regulatory proteins inactivate NGFI-A's binding location on glucocorticoid-receptor genes. Over the next week, in rats raised with high-contact mothering, the concentration of these regulatory proteins decreases sufficiently to enable NGFI-A to do its job of boosting production of hormone receptors. These rats retain this genetic trait for life, the investigators say.  In contrast, the regulatory proteins in unpampered rats stay high, and the abundance of hormone receptors remains low.  Moreover, only high-contact animals displayed another biochemical change, according to Meaney's team. The change decreased the binding of histones to DNA, thereby letting NGFI-A attach and boost the activity of glucocorticoid-receptor genes.  The researchers also tested a drug that blocks the binding of histones to DNA. When they injected it into adult rats that had been raised by low-contact mothers, the scientists found that the animals responded to stress much as pampered animals do. These behaviors were reflected on the molecular level, in patterns of expression of stress hormones and receptors.  Whether differing styles by human mothers induce similar molecular changes in their offspring remains an open question.  If you have a comment on this article that you would like considered for publication in Science News, send it to editors at sciencenews.org. Please include your name and location.  To subscribe to Science News (print), go to https://www.kable.com/pub/scnw/ subServices.asp.  To sign up for the free weekly e-LETTER from Science News, go to http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/subscribe_form.asp.  References:  Weaver, I.C.G. . . . and M.J. Meaney. In press. Epigenetic programming by maternal behavior. Nature Neuroscience. Abstract available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn1276.  Sources:  Michael J. Meaney McGill Program for the Study of Behaviour, Genes and Environment McGill University 3655 Sir William Osler Promenade Montréal, QC H3G 1Y6 Canada  Robert Sapolsky Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences Stanford University School of Medicine Gilbert Laboratory, MC 5020 Stanford, CA 94305-5020  http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040717/fob3.asp  From Science News, Vol. 166, No. 3, July 17, 2004, p. 36.  Copyright (c) 2004 Science Service. All rights reserved. 

  Howard Bloom
  Author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 21st Century
  Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York University; Faculty Member, The Graduate Institute
  Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic of Evolution Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International Society for Human Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; executive editor -- New Paradigm book series.
  For information on The International Paleopsychology Project, see: www.paleopsych.org
  for two chapters from 
  The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, see www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
  For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century, see www.howardbloom.net


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