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Epigenetics: How trauma affects our genes

Credit: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Credit: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Baltimore’s pervasive gun violence both inflames the trauma that shadows many residents … and is caused by that trauma. Dr. Tracy Bale of the University of Maryland med school researches how adverse experiences shape the way our brains work--why, for instance, a child on high alert after gunshots in the neighborhood is not focusing in school. She said she and other scientists are:

 “Trying to understand the biology in how we might intervene both in prevention but also in therapy, to think about how that biology has altered how their brain functions in a setting such as school.”

We ask Bale and Shantay Jackson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, about the interplay of trauma and personal responsibility.

Trauma summit, Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, CDC: How Epigenetics work.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Melissa Gerr is a Senior Producer for On the Record. She started in public media at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn., where she is from, and then worked as a field producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. She made the jump to audio-lover in Baltimore as a digital media editor at Mid-Atlantic Media and Laureate Education, Inc. and as a field producer for "Out of the Blocks." Her beat is typically the off-beat with an emphasis on science, culture and things that make you say, 'Wait, what?'