Epigenetic alterations of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) gene have been linked with memory, stress, and neuropsychiatric disorders. Here we examined whether there was a link between an established rat model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Bdnf DNA methylation. Adult male Sprague–Dawley rats were given psychosocial stress composed of two acute cat exposures in conjunction with 31 days of daily social instability. These manipulations have been shown previously to produce physiological and behavioral sequelae in rats that are comparable to symptoms observed in traumatized people with PTSD. We then assessed Bdnf DNA methylation patterns (at exon IV) and gene expression. We have found here that the psychosocial stress regimen significantly increased Bdnf DNA methylation in the dorsal hippocampus, with the most robust hypermethylation detected in the dorsal CA1 subregion. Conversely, the psychosocial stress regimen significantly decreased methylation in the ventral hippocampus (CA3). No changes in Bdnf DNA methylation were detected in the medial prefrontal cortex or basolateral amygdala. In addition, there were decreased levels of Bdnf mRNA in both the dorsal and ventral CA1. These results provide evidence that traumatic stress occurring in adulthood can induce CNS gene methylation, and specifically, support the hypothesis that epigenetic marking of the Bdnf gene may underlie hippocampal dysfunction in response to traumatic stress. Furthermore, this work provides support for the speculative notion that altered hippocampal Bdnf DNA methylation is a cellular mechanism underlying the persistent cognitive deficits which are prominent features of the pathophysiology of PTSD.
Psychology, Sociology and Criminal Justice Research
Epigenetic modification of hippocampal BDNF DNA in adult rats in an animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Pre-learning stress differentially affects long-term memory for emotional words, depending on temporal proximity to the learning experience.
Stress exerts a profound, yet complex, influence on learning and memory and can enhance, impair or have no effect on these processes. Here, we have examined how the administration of stress at different times before learning affects long-term (24-hr) memory for neutral and emotional information. Participants submerged their dominant hand into a bath of ice cold water (Stress) or into a bath of warm water (No Stress) for 3 min. Either immediately (Exp. 1) or 30 minutes (Exp. 2) after the water bath manipulation, participants were presented with a list of 30 words varying in emotional valence. The next day, participants’ memory for the word list was assessed via free recall and recognition tests. In both experiments, stressed participants exhibited greater blood pressure, salivary cortisol levels, and subjective pain and stress ratings than non-stressed participants in response to the
water bath manipulation. Stress applied immediately prior to learning (Exp. 1) enhanced the recognition of positive words, while stress applied 30 min prior to learning (Exp. 2) impaired free recall of negative words. Participants’ recognition of positive words in Experiment 1 was positively associated with their heart rate responses to the water bath manipulation, while participants’ free recall of negative words in Experiment 2 was negatively associated with their blood pressure and cortisol responses to the water bath manipulation. These findings indicate that the differential effects of pre-learning stress on long-term memory may depend on the temporal proximity of the stressor to the learning experience and the emotional nature of the to-be-learned information.
It’s Not Me in That Mirror, It’s Not Me in That Jail Cell: The Effects of Stigma and Stigma Management Techniques on White Collar Criminals
The purpose of this paper is to discuss how techniques of neutralization may render ineffective deterrence strategies for white collar crime by providing an avenue for stigma management. The paper begins with an introduction of white collar crime both as presented by E. Sutherland and as the field stands today. An extensive literature review is featured which covers the neutralization strategies and research conducted on deterrence in white collar crime. The discussion continues to include the concepts of stigma and stigma management strategies. Several of each are highlighted, and examples from contemporary headlines aid the discussion. An emphasis on the importance for the discipline and topic appears throughout.
More than Just a Pretty Face: How Feminist Young Adult Literature Redefines Beauty in Contemporary American Society
Based on the data compiled about eating disorders in the United States today, we know that these diseases can be deadly and primarily affect preteen and teenage girls. We also know that society, primarily through the media, pressures girls and women to achieve slender bodies, often at the risk of their health. By applying perspectives of feminist theorists from Simone deBeauvoir to Susan Bordo, we can understand why society and the media put this pressure on girls and women. We can also understand how feminist theories are being used by authors of contemporary young adult literature to combat the media’s definition of beauty as having a thin body. Many authors of young adult literature, particularly novelist and short story writer Francesca Lia Block, are redefining beauty for a new generation of teenagers by teaching them that beauty consists of confidence and a healthy body image, not of conforming to images of beauty presented in the media. By examining the messages concerning beauty presented to girls in young adult literature such as Block’s short story “Tiny” and her novels Witch Baby and Missing Angel Juan, we can understand how feminist theories are giving girls a healthier understanding of beauty.
The paper begins with a discussion of the contemporary problem, prostitution and the rape of prostitutes. This includes an operational definition of the topic in addition to the context in which it is to be analyzed. An extensive literature review follows to include the relevant background and writings of the classical theorists Herbert Spencer and Karl Marx. Each theorist’s work is used uniquely to explain the phenomena. The application of Marx’s theory focuses on the influence of the capitalist system in the creation of prostitutes and rapists, as well as the environment which allows the phenomena to occur. The application of Spencer’s theory centers around the biological influences of the actors involved with the phenomena and explains the phenomena in terms of social evolution. The discussion then proceeds to compare and contrast the two theories as applied. The key similarity is the status of both the prostitute and the rapist as victims, the difference being the source of the victimization, one from the social structure, one from the inevitability of one’s own genetic construct. The importance of the topic as matter for social concern is stressed, and the importance of and suggestions for future research in the area of prostitution and the rape of prostitutes is also considered.
Social networking has exploded in popularity over the years. Sites such as MySpace and Facebook allow people to connect with new people and keep in touch with old ones but what is the cost of using such social networking tools? The following is a grim look into the world of social networking and the problems it could potentially cause in the future. Using Charles Horton Cooley’s theories of primary groups and the looking glass self in addition to Emile Durkheim’s theories on solidarity, collective conscience, and the dangers of egoism, the social aspects of Facebook are analyzed and compared to better understand how social relationships are affected by such technology and the problems that will ensue if this love for social networking is not curbed.
This 2x3 between subjects design investigated peoples’ perceptions of authority in relation to ethnicity (Caucasian, Asian, or Hispanic) and body weight (normal weight or overweight). One hundred and forty-one college students ranging in age from 18-26 were given a newspaper article containing a photograph and brief story about a police officer who was either: a normal weight Caucasian, an overweight Caucasian, a normal weight Hispanic, an overweight Hispanic, a normal weight Asian, or an overweight Asian. A questionnaire assessing their perceptions of the police officer’s authority was then completed. Contrary to the hypotheses, findings indicated that people’s perceptions of authority were not significantly influenced by ethnicity or body weight, p>.05. This implies that neither body weight nor ethnicity affect how people perceive authority figures.
Using a 2x2 within subjects design, this study examined whether negative or positive words were recalled more when paired with congruent or incongruent faces. Thirty-nine college-aged participants, of which 15 were males and 24 were females, viewed 32 slides, with eight slides for each of the four conditions, a positive face with a positive word, a positive face with a negative word, a negative face with a positive word, and a negative face with a negative word. It was found that face type and the interaction between word type and face type had no significant impact on word recall. However, positive words were recalled significantly more than negative words, which did not fit the hypothesis that negative words, matched with a congruent face, would be recalled the most. This implies that only the emotion of words, and not the emotion of faces, has an effect on memory.
Stress Differentially Affects Memory for Positive and Negative Words, Independent of Its Proximity to the Learning Experience
Stress can enhance, impair, or have no effect on learning and memory, depending on several factors. We have examined how the temporal proximity of stress to a learning experience affects one’s memory for that experience. Seventy-two participants were exposed to stress (cold pressor test) or no stress by placing their dominant hands in a bath of cold (1±1°C) or warm (36±1°C) water, respectively. Cardiovascular measurements, saliva samples, and pain/stress ratings were collected from participants to corroborate stress induction. Either immediately or 30 minutes after water bath exposure, participants read a list of 30 words that varied in emotional valence. Twenty-four hours later, participants completed free recall and recognition tests to assess their memory for these words. The results indicated that participants exposed to the cold pressor test exhibited significantly greater blood pressure and pain/stress ratings than non-stressed participants. In addition, stress, independent of temporal proximity to the learning experience, led to significantly lower recall of negative words and significantly enhanced recognition of positive words. These results lend insight into how stress differentially affects memory for positive and negative information and suggest that the temporal proximity of stress to a learning experience may not largely influence how stress affects memory.
“Beneficial Effects of Tianeptine on Hippocampus-Dependent Long-Term Memory and Stress-Induced Alterations of Brain Structure and Function”
Tianeptine is a well-described antidepressant which has been shown to prevent stress from producing deleterious effects on brain structure and function. Preclinical studies have shown that tianeptine blocks stress-induced alterations of neuronal morphology and synaptic plasticity. Moreover, tianeptine prevents stress from impairing learning and memory, and importantly, demonstrates memory-enhancing properties in the absence of stress. Recent research has indicated that tianeptine works by normalizing guatamatergic neurotransmission, a mechanism of action that may underlie its effectiveness as an antidepressant. These findings emphasize the value in focusing on the mechanisms of action of tianeptine, and specifically, the glutamatergic system, in the development of novel pharmacotherapeutic strategies in the treatment of depression.