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Time has been flying by pretty fast as we near our planned date to set out on this North American journey to film and meet people for our upcoming documentary. Preparing for interviews and contacting people to help make this documentary come together has been an exciting part of it all as we get to see who will help in making up the content for this film. As of now we have some awesome voices we plan to interview and we are still pushing and look forward to getting some more while we are out.

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I must say, before we decided to go out and do this I felt as though this documentary was not quite at the stages to begin filming, but the ideas for the film and this trip seemed to just fly in out of nowhere and since deciding to just “jump in” things have been flowing and coming together very quickly. All of the right pieces have been falling into place effortlessly for the past few weeks and it’s exciting to see how perfect it’s all playing out.

After a bunch of hard work and a lot of love, the car we will be taking on the trip is ready to go! Our friend Wim offered the car for us to use on the trip and it fit our needs perfectly. Since then he has put his skills in action to make the car literally indestructible so we can take it on this long trip. Of course we had to spruce up the outside of this car with a few subtle decals… 🙂 Also we have had it approved and certified by Brodie after he gave it a quick test drive. (See pics below. Click for full size) We want to thank Wim and Angela for all of the support you have given in making this come together! It is extremely appreciated and we feel it is going towards an awesome project!

Today we throw together our final pack and get everything else ready to go so we can head out tomorrow! We look forward to updating everyone as we go! We want to thank everyone who has helped contribute and make this trip possible! Your continued support is very much appreciated!

Much Love!

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Alternative News

Mental Health Disorders To Cost $16 Trillion Worldwide By 2030

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Mental Health Disorders, in the eyes of big pharma, are a huge money making scam. This is intertwined with the serious issue of mental health and the factors that may be leading to it.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is the main treatment being pushed prescription drugs? Have you researched things like diet and other activities for treating mental health issues? Do these issues reflect how humanity feels about the current state of our world?

Pediatric vaccines represent a $40 billion dollar market, and with emerging studies showing numerous causes for concern, coupled with the scientific fraud we’ve seen conducted by multiple pharmaceutical giants, it’s imperative that we really start to question the medicines being prescribed to us, and the influence that the medical industry has on manufacturing these medicines as well as providing medical education.

It’s truly a shame that for the majority of human history, various cultures developed and utilize natural medicines effectively, but with the birth of chemical medicine (via John D. Rockefeller), all of the traditional ‘hospitals’ were completely destroyed, along with their methods of treatment. This effort to maintain a monopoly on healing is still seen today with the multiple attacks that have occurred on holistic naturopathic medicine.

It’s been more than a decade since John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University School of Medicine, published an article entitled “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” It became one of the most widely accessed articles in academic history. Since then, numerous scientists and people within the field, from doctors to professors, from whistleblowers within major medical organizations and pharmaceutical companies to editors-in-chief of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, have all been trying to create awareness around this issue.

Take doctor Richard Horton, current editor-in-chief of The Lancet, who publicly stated that most of the published research, possibly half of it, could be false due to corruption and scientific error. Arnold Seymour Relman, past editor -in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine has also expressed his disgust with regards to Big Pharma basically buying the medical industry. Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and longtime editor-in-chief of the New England Medical Journal (NEMJ) has also done the same thing, along with many others.

Scientific Fraud

Then we have real-life documented examples of scientific fraud, whether that be pharmaceutical companies not disclosing the full results of their clinical trials, and downright lying about their medications in order to simply get them approved. And who is doing the approving? Government agencies and regulatory agencies who have extremely close ties to these companies. We clearly no longer live in a democracy, it’s become a corporatocracy.

Dr. Asseem Malhotra, a well-known doctor in Britain had some choice words to say in front of the European Parliament about modern-day medical education and overall knowledge doctors possess. He’s one of many who continues to emerge and speak out. You can read more about what he had to say, letting the world know that we have an “epidemic of misinformed doctors,” here, and you might also be interested in the following article, Why “Peer Reviewed” Science Continues To Lose Credibility.

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Mental Health

Mental health is a HUGE money maker for the medical industry, and unfortunately, it’s highly targeted towards children. What I mean by that is that it seems so easy these days to label a child with ADD, ADHD, or even with ASD, depression, anxiety disorders and more. As a result, many of these children are medicated, and there are lots of them. Coupled with this initiative is a massive mental health awareness campaign that’s basically being used as propaganda to further perpetuate the problem.

When it comes to these labels, something that’s never really discussed are the financial ties between the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) panel members and the pharmaceutical industry. It was never really investigated until American psychologist Lisa Cosgrove and others decided to take the initiative. They found that, of the 170 DSM panel members, more than half (large number) had one or more financial associations with companies in the pharmaceutical industry.

One hundred percent of the members of the panels on ‘mood disorders’ and ‘schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders’ had financial ties to drug companies. The connections are especially strong in those diagnostic areas where drugs are the first line of treatment for mental disorders. In the next edition of the manual, it’s the same thing:

The DSM appears to be more a political document than a scientific one. Each diagnostic criteria in the DSM is not based on medical science. No blood tests exist for the disorders in the DSMN. It relies on judgements from practitioners who rely on the manual. – Lisa Cosgrove, PdD, Professor of Counselling and School Psycyhology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Lisa Cosgrove (source)

$16 Trillion By 2030

This is very concerning, especially because mental health disorders are expected to cost the global economy approximately $16 trillion a year by the time we hit 2030. As the Daily Mail reports, this comes as a result of the collective failure to respond to this global health crisis, which will result in monumental loss of human capabilities and avoidable suffering.

Although the information above goes to show how much of a fraud a large part of the mental health industry represents, it’s a real growing problem, and we continue to simply pad the problem with medications instead of addressing the actual causes. These include our food, the heavy metals present in the environment, air quality, pesticides, pollution, trauma and a whole lot more. It seems these are never addressed, and when they are, it seems there is a harsh opposition to accept some of these things as the actual cause.

This is because if true, a complete change would come for many. Take Monsanto, for example: what happens if the pesticides they produce, spray, and approve for use with their collusion inside of the government are actually causing multiple diseases? This means a shutdown of an entire company, and billions/trillions of dollars lost.

The $16 trillion cost was estimated from World Bank data based on the loss to the global economy if people of a working age suffer from mental health problems.

‘Anyone who cares about poverty, education, social cohesion or economic progress should work to improve mental health, putting the vast knowledge we have on promotion, prevention and care, into action,’ Professor Vikram said.

Around 13.5 million deaths, including suicides, could be avoided globally every year if more money was invested into mental health, the authors estimate.

The Commission also urged low and middle-income countries to raise their spending on mental health from less than one per cent of their healthcare budget to at least five per cent.

The report, which was launched at the first Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in London, claimed people with mental illness still suffer ‘gross human rights violations’ in many countries.

‘Human rights violations and abuses persist in many countries, with large numbers of people locked away in mental institutions or prisons, or living on the streets, often without legal protection,’ the report, which was put together by 28 experts, claims.

It Shouldn’t Cost So Much

In fact, money is not even the answer. These figures come from multiple costs, but mainly from the cost of medications. Medications when it comes to mental health issues are iffy at best. The very fact that we can’t see chemical flows on the brain from which apparently many mental health disorders arise, should ring off alarm bells in the heads of most people.

It because the only imbalances we know of in the brains of people called mental patients are the ones inflicted on them by the psychiatric drugs. We make a false claim that they have biochemical imbalances and then we give them biochemical imbalances. There is much we don’t understand about ‘mental illness.’

Why shouldn’t it cost so much? Because mental health interventions that show success deal with mindfulness, talking about emotions, thoughts and feelings. Meditation can help, and multiple therapies that don’t involve medication exist. The sad thing about this is that people who has been diagnosed with mental health issues are not provided with any options or resources other than a medication recommendation from their physician. For the most part, the physician doesn’t really know what is going on.

The main reason we take so many drugs is that drug companies don t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs. This is what makes drugs so different from anything else in life… Virtually everything we know about drugs is what the companies have chosen to tell us and our doctors… the reason patients trust their medicine is that they extrapolate the trust they have in their doctors into the medicines they prescribe.

The patients don’t realize that, although their doctors may know a lot about diseases and human physiology and psychology, they know very, very little about drugs that’ve been carefully concocted and dressed up by the drug industry… If you don t think the system is out of control, please email me and explain why drugs are the third leading cause of death… If such a hugely lethal epidemic had been caused by a new bacterium or a virus, or even one-hundredth of it, we would have done everything we could to get it under control.” – Dr. Peter Gotzsche (source)

The Takeaway

Question what you read and hear. We have massive mental health campaigns happening right now to create awareness of the problem, but none of these campaigns address the issues mentioned above, and it seems the medical industry, in general, is never questioned at all. In my opinion, mental health disorders and diagnoses represent the heart of medical fraud.

It’s important to recognize the increase in environmental factors mentioned in the article that are no doubt contributing to mental illness. Furthermore, it’s important to address the fact that we are never advised or taught how to deal with trauma, our emotions and our feelings while growing up. We learn how to memorize, we don’t learn how to empathize. Reversing this would assist in coping with the modern day mental health epidemic we see today.

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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Alternative News

We Now Know The Government Funded Group Pushing Facebook Censorship

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Facebook has partnered with The Atlantic Council to 'stop fake news and propaganda.' This council is funded by US government agencies and massive corporations who are arms dealers and fund war and terrorism.

  • Reflect On:

    Given who funds this organization, does it point to the fact that Facebook is truly the one election meddling? Are the mainstream media the only ones to be trusted with election news? Think about who is controlling the narrative here.

On October 11, 2018, 58+ more pages were removed from Facebook causing yet another uproar in the ‘war’ against independent media. My inbox flooded with messages as friends and other page admins began asking me when I thought we were going to be next.

The thought crossed my mind, the day could come, but for now, we will keep building our platform off Facebook, stay grounded in our thoughts and continue producing quality, neutral, conscious media and journalism. We feel Facebook will not have any REAL excuse to come after that, but we know they don’t need an excuse per se.

After all, all of my friend’s pages were just deleted because Facebook felt they were tied to some sort of Russian/US election meddling. It’s interesting when you consider the only people meddling in the election is Facebook. Why else would they delete numerous Facebook pages which often oppose the state-controlled mainstream media?

Beyond the political pressure Facebook seems to be receiving, what actually goes on during this all our targeted censorship? We may never know exactly, but signs point to a specific group that appears to be heavily involved in the process.

The Group That Guides Facebook Censorship

Enter The Atlantic Council (TAC).

According to a Google Search,

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TAC is an American think tank in the field of international affairs. Founded in 1961, it provides a forum for international political, business, and intellectual leaders. It manages ten regional centers and functional programs related to international security and global economic prosperity.

Sounds nice, but then again so do many things that have profit and control driven intentions. Take Monsanto for example, here is an explanation of what they do according to a Monsanto rep.

Monsanto is a global modern agriculture company. We develop products and tools to help farmers around the world grow crops while using energy, water, and land more efficiently. We believe innovation has the potential to bring humanity’s needs in balance with the resources of our planet.

A look into what Monsanto really does might reveal such things as harming and destroying nature en masse. Poisoning the masses and feeding them a genetically experimental food that in many studies shows dangers.

The point is, we have to look a little more closer at corporations.

So who exactly are The Atlantic Council? And are they actually helping Facebook decide who to censor? Good questions. Let’s begin by looking at who funds TAC.

Here are a few donors according to TAC’s website. They include the US and foreign government agencies as well as prominent companies and figures tied to deep state activity.

HSBC Holdings plc
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Google Inc.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom
Lockheed Martin Corporation
The Coca-Cola Company
Chevron
Bahaa Hariri (prominent Lebanese billionaire)
United States Army
United States Chamber of Commerce
United States Marine Corps
United States Navy

Below is a recent tweet from Daniel McAdams, the Executive Director, Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, outlining the funding of The Atlantic Council.

With my 11 years of research into this space, I feel as though this is the type of group responsible for controlling narratives around the world. Whitewashing wars, creating hatred between nations on the public level, and fostering narratives that lead to wars and conflict. After all, it’s funded by arms manufacturers like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing.

In other words, TAC may very well be a propaganda arm for agencies like NATO, the US Government and so forth. This would mean they work to control the narratives that come out of mainstream media to control what the public thinks and discusses. This leads to what the public will ultimately support.

According to Facebook’s newsroom, on May 17th, 2018, Facebook announced its partnership with The Atlantic Council to combat ‘fake news.’

Today, we’re excited to launch a new partnership with the Atlantic Council, which has a stellar reputation looking at innovative solutions to hard problems.

How did the mainstream media view this partnership with a council such as this? A council backed by the very billionaires and corporations independent media organizations prove fund wars, terrorism, and harm/mislead the public?

“US think tank’s tiny lab helps Facebook battle fake social media” – Reuters

Facebook partners with Atlantic Council to improve election security” – The Hill

Facebook Partners With the Atlantic Council to Fight Election Propaganda” – Fortune

Everything points to ‘fake news’ and ‘propaganda.’ The narratives that began the moment Hillary Clinton, the next Deep State chosen president, lost the 2016 election.

As the public, we have to ask the question, who’s watching the watchers? If mainstream media holds the position of never being purveyors of propaganda, then how do we know who’s truly holding them accountable? Well, I guess it’s the Atlantic Group. Helping to create narratives that point to independent dissenting media voices as ‘propaganda.’

Perhaps this is the group behind the ‘Russian/US election fraud narrative.’ Maybe this is the group who is still trying to big up the highly corrupt Clinton’s. Maybe this is a group that is creating the propaganda that enters the mainstream. (A story we’d love to investigate once we can afford to hire our investigative team.)

Does TAC Really Create Propaganda? Yes!

How do we know The Atlantic Council creates propaganda themselves? Let’s look back to when Ben Nimmo, a one-time NATO press officer, and Atlantic Council board member, stated that grammar mistakes were “proof” that journalists or social media users were paid Kremlin trolls.

Ben Nimmo later went on to create a worldwide fake news story, that the mainstream media heavily ran with, calling a retired British citizen a Russian bot. The British citizen and Twitter user Ian56789 later came out on Sky News showing his real face and identity, proving Ben Nimmo was wrong about him being a Russian bot. Of course, the mainstream media didn’t go national with that story, only the fake news version.

WikiLeaks was critical of Nimmo and The Atlantic Council after that bout of propaganda.

The point here is, Facebook choosing to work with this group essentially states Facebook is becoming nothing more than a narrative controller just like the mainstream media. TAC on several occasions has created fake news stories, that went viral, about the very political narratives independent media is pointing out as false yet are being called propaganda. So who is truly creating propaganda?

As a side, this is a council that gave its top global leadership awards to former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

What Do We Do & The Takeaway

Independent media, specifically conscious media as well, are crucially important voices in our society during a time where Orwell’s 1984 is happening right in front of us. As Facebook, Google and other corporations strip funding from organizations like Collective Evolution, the reach stops, the work slows down and the propaganda voices of the mainstream get louder.

This is a time for us to come together and truly choose which direction we go forward in. We must stop supporting mainstream media outlets and do our best to share and keep independent media alive. CE has lost 80% of its funding since two years ago. We have regained about 10% of that so far through our community support campaign. It’s up to us to see what prevails here. We must become active.

Since we can be removed from Facebook at any point, join our email list to stay updated with our content.

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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Epigenetic Memories Are Passed Down 14 Successive Generations, Game-Changing Research Reveals

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It's amazing how much information can be passed on to our offspring. Scientist have discovered that our DNA has memories, and these can also be passed down. We are talking about thoughts, feelings, emotions and perceptions.

  • Reflect On:

    Biological changes are shaped by our environment, as well as our thoughts, feelings, emotions and reaction to that environment. Our DNA can be changed with belief, the placebo is a great example. Thoughts feelings and emotions are huge in biology.

This article was written by the Greenmedinfo research group, from Greenmedinfo.com. Posted here with permission.

Until recently, it was believed that our genes dictate our destiny. That we are slated for the diseases that will ultimately beset us based upon the pre-wired indecipherable code written in stone in our genetic material. The burgeoning field of epigenetics, however, is overturning these tenets, and ushering in a school of thought where nurture, not nature, is seen to be the predominant influence when it comes to genetic expression and our freedom from or affliction by chronic disease.

Epigenetics: The Demise of Biological Determinism

Epigenetics, or the study of the physiological mechanisms that silence or activate genes, encompasses processes which alter gene function without changing the sequence of nucleotide base pairs in our DNA. Translated literally to mean “in addition to changes in genetic sequence,” epigenetics includes processes such as methylation, acetylation, phosphorylation, sumolyation, and ubiquitylation which can be transmitted to daughter cells upon cell division (1). Methylation, for example, is the attachment of simple methyl group tags to DNA molecules, which can repress transcription of a gene when it occurs in the region of a gene promoter. This simple methyl group, or a carbon bound to three hydrogen molecules, effectively turns the gene off.

Post-translational modifications of histone proteins is another epigenetic process. Histones help to package and condense the DNA double helix into the cell nucleus in a complex called chromatin, which can be modified by enzymes, acetyl groups, and forms of RNA called small interfering RNAs and microRNAs (1). These chemical modifications of chromatin influence its three-dimensional structure, which in turn governs its accessibility for DNA transcription and dictates whether genes are expressed or not.

We inherit one allele, or variant, of each gene from our mother and the other from our father. If the result of epigenetic processes is imprinting, a phenomenon where one of the two alleles of a gene pair is turned off, this can generate a deleterious health outcome if the expressed allele is defective or increases our susceptibility to infections or toxicants (1). Studies link cancers of nearly all types, neurobehavioral and cognitive dysfunction, respiratory illnessesautoimmune disorders, reproductive anomalies, and cardiovascular disease to epigenetic mechanisms (1). For example, the cardiac antiarrhythmic drug procainamide and the antihypertensive agent hydralazine can cause lupus in some people by causing aberrant patterns of DNA methylation and disrupting signalling pathways (1).

Genes Load the Gun, Environment Pulls the Trigger

Pharmaceuticals, however, are not the only agents that can induce epigenetic disturbances. Whether you were born via vaginal birth or Cesarean section, breastfed or bottle-fed, raised with a pet in the house, or infected with certain childhood illnesses all influence your epigenetic expression. Whether you are sedentary, pray, smoke, mediate, do yoga, have an extensive network of social support or are alienated from your community—all of your lifestyle choices play into your risk for disease operating through mechanisms of epigenetics.

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In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that genetics account for only 10% of disease, with the remaining 90% owing to environmental variables (2). An article published in the Public Library of Science One (PLoS One) entitled “Genetic factors are not the major causes of chronic diseases” echoes these claims, citing that chronic disease is only 16.4% genetic, and 84.6% environmental (3). These concepts make sense in light of research on the exposome, the cumulative measure of all the environmental insults an individual incurs during their life course that determines susceptibility to disease (4)

In delineating the totality of exposures to which an individual is subjected over their lifetime, the exposome can be subdivided into three overlapping and intertwined domains. One segment of the exposome called the internal environment is comprised of processes innate to the body which impinge on the cellular milieu. This encompasses hormones and other cellular messengers, oxidative stress, inflammation, lipid peroxidation, bodily morphology, the gut microbiotaaging and biochemical stress (5).

Another portion of the exposome, the specific external environment, consists of exposures including pathogens, radiation, chemical contaminants and pollutants, and medical interventions, as well as dietary, lifestyle, and occupational elements (5). At an even broader sociocultural and ecological level is the segment of the exposome called the general external environment, which may circumscribe factors such as psychological stress, socioeconomic status, geopolitical variables, educational attainment, urban or rural residence, and climate (5).

Transgenerational Inheritance of Epigenetic Change: Endocrine Disruptors Trigger Infertility in Future Generations

Scientists formerly speculated that epigenetic changes disappear with each new generation during gametogenesis, the formation of sperm and ovum, and after fertilization. However, this theory was first challenged by research published in the journal Science which demonstrated that transient exposure of pregnant rats to the insecticide methoxychlor, an estrogenic compound, or the fungicide vinclozolin, an antiandrogenic compound, resulted in increased incidence of male infertility and decreased sperm production and viability in 90% of the males of four subsequent generations that were tracked (1).

Most notably, these reproductive effects were associated with derangements in DNA methylation patterns in the germ line, suggesting that epigenetic changes are passed on to future generations. The authors concluded, “The ability of an environmental factor (for example, endocrine disruptor) to reprogram the germ line and to promote a transgenerational disease state has significant implications for evolutionary biology and disease etiology” (6, p. 1466). This may suggest that the endocrine-disrupting, fragrance-laden personal care products and commercial cleaning supplies to which we are all exposed may trigger fertility problems in multiple future generations.

Transgenerational Inheritance of Traumatic Episodes: Parental Experience Shapes Traits of Offspring

In addition, traumatic experiences may be transmitted to future generations via epigenetics as a way to inform progeny about salient information needed for their survival (7). In one study, researchers wafted the cherry-like chemical acetophenone into the chambers of mice while administering electric shocks, conditioning the mice to fear the scent (7). This reaction was passed onto two successive generations, which shuddered significantly more in the presence of acetophenone despite never having encountered it compared to descendants of mice that had not received this conditioning (7).

The study suggests that certain characteristics of the parental sensory environment experienced before conception can remodel the sensory nervous system and neuroanatomy in subsequently conceived generations (7). Alterations in brain structures that process olfactory stimuli were observed, as well as enhanced representation of the receptor that perceives the odor compared to control mice and their progeny (7). These changes were conveyed by epigenetic mechanisms, as illustrated by evidence that the acetophenone-sensing genes in fearful mice were hypomethylated, which may have enhanced expression of odorant-receptor genes during development leading to acetophenone sensitivity (7).

The Human Experience of Famine and Tragedy Spans Generations

The mouse study, which illustrates how germ cells (egg and sperm) exhibit dynamic plasticity and adaptability in response to environmental signals, is mirrored by human studies. For instance, exposures to certain stressors such as starvation during the gestational period are associated with poor health outcomes for offspring. Women who undergo famine before conception of her offspring have been demonstrated to give birth to children with lower self-reported mental health and quality of life, for example (8).

Studies similarly highlight that, “Maternal famine exposure around the time of conception has been related to prevalence of major affective disorders, antisocial personality disorders, schizophrenia, decreased intracranial volume, and congenital abnormalities of the central nervous system” (8). Gestational exposure to the Dutch Famine of the mid-twentieth century is also associated with lower perceived health (9), as well as enhanced incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity in offspring (8). Maternal undernourishment during pregnancy leads to neonatal adiposity, which is a predictor of future obesity (10), in the grandchildren (11).

The impact of epigenetics is also exemplified by research on the intergenerational effects of trauma, which illuminates that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust exhibit abnormal stresshormone profiles, and low cortisol production in particular (12). Because of their impaired cortisol response and altered stress reactivity, children of Holocaust survivors are often at enhanced risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression (13).

Intrauterine exposure to maternal stress in the form of intimate partner violence during pregnancy can also lead to changes in the methylation status of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) of their adolescent offspring (14). These studies suggest that an individual’s experience of trauma can predispose their descendants to mental illness, behavioral problems, and psychological abnormalities due to “transgenerational epigenetic programming of genes operating in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis,” a complex set of interactions among endocrine glands which determine stress response and resilience (14).

Body Cells Pass Genetic Information Directly Into Sperm Cells

Not only that, but studies are illuminating that genetic information can be transferred through the germ line cells of a species in real time. These paradigm-shifting findings overturn conventional logic which postulates that genetic change occurs over the protracted time scale of hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. In a relatively recent study, exosomes were found to be the medium through which information was transferred from somatic cells to gametes.

This experiment entailed xenotransplantation, a process where living cells from one species are grafted into a recipient of another species. Specifically, human melanoma tumor cells genetically engineered to express genes for a fluorescent tracer enzyme called EGFP-encoding plasmid were transplanted into mice. The experimenters found that information-containing molecules containing the EGFP tracer were released into the animals’ blood (15). Exosomes, or “specialized membranous nano-sized vesicles derived from endocytic compartments that are released by many cell types” were found among the EGFP trackable molecules (16, p. 447).

Exosomes, which are synthesized by all plant and animal cells, contain distinct protein repertoires and are created when inward budding occurs from the membrane of multivesicular bodies (MVBs), a type of organelle that serves as a membrane-bound sorting compartment within eukaryotic cells (16). Exosomes contain microRNA (miRNA) and small RNA, types of non-coding RNA involved in regulating gene expression (16). In this study, exosomes delivered RNAs to mature sperm cells (spermatozoa) and remained stored there (15).

The researchers highlight that this kind of RNA can behave as a “transgenerational determinant of inheritable epigenetic variations and that spermatozoal RNA can carry and deliver information that cause phenotypic variations in the progeny” (15). In other words, the RNA carried to sperm cells by exosomes can preside over gene expression in a way that changes the observable traits and disease risk of the offspring as well as its morphology, development, and physiology.

This study was the first to elucidate RNA-mediated transfer of information from somatic to germ cells, which fundamentally overturns what is known as the Weisman barrier, a principle which states that the movement of hereditary information from genes to body cells is unidirectional, and that the information transmitted by egg and sperm to future generations remains independent of somatic cells and parental experience (15).

Further, this may bear implications for cancer risk, as exosomes contain vast amounts of genetic information which can be source of lateral gene transfer (17) and are abundantly liberated from tumor cells (18). This can be reconciled with the fact that exosome-resembling vesicles have been observed in various mammals (15), including humans, in close proximity to sperm in anatomical structures such as the epididymis as well as in seminal fluid (19). These exosomes may thereafter be propagated to future generations with fertilization and augment cancer risk in the offspring (20).

The researchers concluded that sperm cells can act as the final repositories of somatic cell-derived information, which suggests that epigenetic insults to our body cells can be relayed to future generations. This notion is confirmatory of the evolutionary theory of “soft inheritance” proposed by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, whereby characteristics acquired over the life of an organism are transmitted to offspring, a concept which modern genetics previously rejected before the epigenetics arrived on the scene. In this way, the sperm are able to spontaneously assimilate exogenous DNA and RNA molecules, behaving both as vector of their native genome and of extrachromosomal foreign genetic material which is “then delivered to oocytes at fertilization with the ensuing generation of phenotypically modified animals” (15).

Epigenetic Changes Endure Longer Than Ever Predicted

In a recent study, nematode worms were manipulated to harbor a transgene for a fluorescent protein, which made the worms glow under ultraviolet light when the gene was activated (21). When the worms were incubated under the ambient temperature of 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit), negligible glowing was observed, indicating low activity of the transgene (21). However, transferring the worms to a warmer climate of 25°C (77° F) stimulated expression of the gene, as the worms glowed brightly (21).

In addition, this temperature-induced alteration in gene expression was found to persist for at least 14 generations, representing the preservation of epigenetic memories of environmental change across an unprecedented number of generations (21). In other words, the worms transmitted memories of past environmental conditions to their descendants, through the vehicle of epigenetic change, as a way to prepare their offspring for prevailing environmental conditions and ensure their survivability.

Future Directions: Where Do We Go From Here?

Taken cumulatively, the aforementioned research challenges traditional Mendelian laws of genetics, which postulate that genetic inheritance occurs exclusively through sexual reproduction and that traits are passed to offspring through the chromosomes contained in germ line cells, and never through somatic (bodily) cells. Effectively, this proves the existence of non-Mendelian transgenerational inheritance, where traits separate from chromosomal genes are transmitted to progeny, resulting in persistent phenotypes that endure across generations (22).

This research imparts new meaning to the principle of seven generation stewardship taught by Native Americans, which mandates that we consider the welfare of seven generations to come in each of our decisions. Not only should we embody this approach in practices of environmental sustainability, but we would be wise to consider how the conditions to which we subject our bodies—the pollution and toxicants which permeate the landscape and pervade our bodies, the nutrient-devoid soil that engenders micronutrient-poor food, the disruptions to our circadian rhythm due to the ubiquity of electronic devices, our divorce from nature and the demise of our tribal affiliations—may translate into ill health effects and diminished quality of life for a previously unfathomed number of subsequent generations.

Hazards of modern agriculture, the industrial revolution, and contemporary living are the “known or suspected drivers behind epigenetic processes…including heavy metals, pesticides, diesel exhaust, tobacco smoke, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, hormones, radioactivity, viruses, bacteria, and basic nutrients” (1, p. A160). Serendipitously, however, many inputs such as exercise, mindfulness, and bioactive components in fruits and vegetables such as sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables, resveratrol from red grapes, genistein from soy, diallyl sulphide from garlic, curcumin from turmeric, betaine from beets, and green tea catechin can favorably modify epigenetic phenomena “either by directly inhibiting enzymes that catalyze DNA methylation or histone modifications, or by altering the availability of substrates necessary for those enzymatic reactions” (23, p. 8).

This quintessentially underscores that the air we breathe, the food we eat, the thoughts we allow, the toxins to which we are exposed, and the experiences we undergo may persevere in our descendants and remain in our progeny long after we are gone. We must be cognizant of the effects of our actions, as they elicit a ripple effect through the proverbial sands of time.

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References

1. Weinhold, B. (2006). Epigenetics: The Science of Change. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(3), A160-A167.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Exposome and Exposomics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/exposome/

3. Rappaport, S.M. (2016). Genetic factors are not the major causes of chronic diseases. PLoS One, 11(4), e0154387.

4. Vrijheid, M. (2014). The exposome: a new paradigm to study the impact of environment on health. Thorax, 69(9), 876-878. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204949.

5. Wild, C.P. (2012). The exposome: from concept to utility. International Journal of Epidemiology, 41, 24–32. doi:10.1093/ije/dyr236

6. Anway, M.D. et al. (2005). Epigenetic transgenerational actions of endocrine disruptors and male fertility. Science, 308(5727), 1466-1469.

7. Dias, B.G., & Ressler, K.J. (2014). Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature Neuroscience, 17(1), 89-98.

8. Stein, A.D. et al. (2009). Maternal exposure to the Dutch Famine before conception and during pregnancy: quality of life and depressive symptoms in adult offspring. Epidemiology, 20(6), doi:  10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181b5f227.

9. Roseboom, T.J. et al. (2003). Perceived health of adults after prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine. Paediatrics Perinatal Epidemiology, 17, 391–397.

10. Badon, S.E. et al. (2014). Gestational Weight Gain and Neonatal Adiposity in the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Study-North American Region. Obesity (Silver Spring), 22(7), 1731–1738.

11. Veenendaal, M.V. et al. (2013). Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch famine. BJOG, 120(5), 548-53. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.

12. Yehuda, R., & Bierer, L.M. (2008). Transgenerational transmission of cortisol and PTSD risk. Progress in Brain Research, 167, 121-135.

13. Aviad-Wilcheck, Y. et al. (2013). The effects of the survival characteristics of parent Holocaust survivors on offsprings’ anxiety and depression symptoms. The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 50(3), 210-216.

14. Radke, K.M. et al. (2011). Transgenerational impact of intimate partner violence on methylation in the promoter of the glucocorticoid receptor. Translational Psychiatry, 1, e21. doi: 10.1038/tp.2011.21.

15. Cossetti, C. et al. (2014). Soma-to-Germline Transmission of RNA in Mice Xenografted with Human Tumour Cells: Possible Transport by Exosomes. PLoS One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101629.

16. Zomer, A. et al. (2010). Exosomes: Fit to deliver small RNA. Communicative and Integrative Biology, 3(5), 447–450.

17. Balaj, L. et al. (2011) Tumour microvesicles contain retrotransposon elements and amplified oncogene sequences. Natural Communications, 2, 180.

18. Azmi, A.S., Bao, B., & Sarkar, F.H. (2013). Exosomes in cancer development, metastasis, and drug resistance: a comprehensive review. Cancer Metastasis Review, 32, 623-643

19. Poliakov, A. et al. (2009). Structural heterogeneity and protein composition of exosomes-like vesicles (prostasomes) in human semen. Prostate, 69, 159-167.

20. Cheng, R.Y. et al. (2004) Epigenetic and gene expression changes related to transgenerational carcinogenesis. Molecular Carcinogenesis, 40, 1–11.

21. Klosin, A. et al. (2017). Transgenerational transmission of environmental information in C. elegans. Science, 356(6335).

22. Lim, J.P., & Brunet, A. (2013). Bridging the transgenerational gap with epigenetic memory. Trends in Genetics, 29(3), 176-186. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.12.008

23. Choi, S.-W., & Friso, S. (2010). Epigenetics: A New Bridge between Nutrition and Health Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 1(1), 8-16. doi:10.3945/an.110.1004.

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