Lower Socioeconomic Status (SES) Can Have A Negative Impact On Genes

Consequences of Poverty

Normally, people refer to Poverty in different ways. Poverty is accompanied by a number of disadvantages. They may be poor nutrition, lack of shelter, insufficient clothing and little or no education. Moreover, the hardships invite increased smoking or drug addiction, and the struggle for trying to get over them. Hence, poor eating habits due to poverty can relate to the risk of certain diseases for generations.

Apparently, these factors can affect a child’s development, predominantly in the brain, and may seem to appear at birth. This explains that exposure to these stressors during the prenatal stage may result in cognitive problems. Impoverished children are more prone to depression in comparison to the privileged ones. The stress of poverty transforms the genes which may pass on to the offspring.

Recent Study

The American Journal of Physical Anthropology by a Northwestern University published a study recently. The study reveals that Lower socioeconomic status (SES) proves to be associated with the levels of DNA methylation (DNAm). In the human genes, instructions store through the process of adding new material to a DNA molecule. Cells control genetic expression through this mechanism.

In a person’s genome, almost 10 percent of their overall genetic makeup is due to the effect of poverty. This finding is according to the study published in February, in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. It is based on a research that started in 1983 in Cebu City of Philippines.

Social inequality may accelerate the risk of heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and other infectious diseases, demonstrates a former research.  America’s primary causes of death are these illnesses. These factors also add up to the physiological processes. They may result in conditions as chronic inflammation and insulin resistance.

Conclusion Of the Study

Thomas McDade, Professor of anthropology and a faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research, is the Lead Author of the Study. According to him, since a long time we have known that socioeconomic status is a powerful determinant of health. But, the underlying mechanisms through which our bodies remember the experiences of poverty are yet unknown.

Eventually, this is how the study concluded. As per Professor McDade, the proceeding studies would focus on finding out whether DNAm “can leave a lasting molecular imprint on the body, with implications for health later in life” .

 

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