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Abused chil­dren are at a higher risk of anx­i­ety and mood dis­or­ders. Sci­en­tists have now found that trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence changes gene reg­u­la­tion. Sci­en­tists from the Max Planck In­sti­tute of Psy­chi­a­try doc­u­mented ge­netic vari­ants of the FKBP5 gene that cause epi­ge­netic al­ter­ations in­duced by early trauma. This fre­quently leads to de­pres­sion, post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der or anx­i­ety dis­or­ders in adult­hood. Torsten Klen­gel, a sci­en­tist at the Max Planck In­sti­tute of Psy­chi­a­try, ex­plains: "De­pend­ing on ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion, child­hood trauma can leave per­ma­nent epi­ge­netic marks on the DNA… The con­se­quence is a per­ma­nent dys­reg­u­la­tion of the vic­tim's stress hor­mone sys­tem, which can ul­ti­mately lead to psy­chi­atric ill­ness.”

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