Hi. Child abuse 'affects health decades later' article at: ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38345887 Is there a possible effect of epigenetics here?
Yes is the simple answer. In fact the evidence is for more than just a "possible effect". In terms of effects on psychiatric health, our recent editorial in Epigenomics* mentioned: "there is increasing evidence that DNA methylation may be involved in the influence of early life stress on depression and antidepressant drug response. As one example, DNA methylation of the serotonin transporter SLC6A4, perhaps the best studied of genes in psychiatric pharmacogenetics, is greater in subjects reporting child abuse, and can influence gene expression by interacting with a common functional promoter SNP, the HTTLPR. Accumulating evidence suggest that this methylation is itself affecting treatment
response independent of other influences". There is similar data in other health outcomes, notably in obesity, although we have so far only scratched the surface - there is so much more to learn.
*Reynolds GP, Fachim HA (2016) Does DNA methylation influence the effects of psychiatric drugs? Epigenomics 8, 309-12.