Parenting can be stressful - and this stress may be influencing the DNA methylation of African American mothers, finds a new study led by NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.
Stress can contribute to a range of health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease - health issues that are particularly pervasive among African American women. The stress that parents feel in their roles adds to overall maternal stress levels, which can influence health outcomes for mothers and their children.
In seeking to understand the biological consequences of stress, researchers have learned that stress is associated with altered DNA methylation, a mechanism that is used to control gene expression (often "turning on" or "off" a gene). Epigenetic changes like DNA methylation do not change the sequence of DNA, but by altering gene expression can contribute to a variety of disease outcomes.
[For more on this study by New York University, go to https://medicalxpress.com/news...erences-african.html]