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    Scientist: Post-war trauma may have an impact on future generations

    The trauma experienced by Ukrainians could be passed on to future generations, Polish and American scientists warn in a letter published in Nature Human Behaviour. They believe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have huge implications for mental health worldwide.

    “Ukrainian trauma at the hands of Putin may be epigenetically transmitted to future generations,” – estimate Dr Ali Jawaid and PhD student Magdalena Gomółka from the M. Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and Dr Anastasia Timmer from California State University, Northridge (USA).


    They explain that since Vladimir Putin’s army invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the people of that country have been experiencing a “complex trauma”. The combination of events – fear of loss of life and freedom, grief, separation from family, social isolation, social disruption and forced migration, and more – increases the risk of both physical and psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.


    “When these traumas occur in combination, the effect is amplified, and signatures of trauma may even appear in the germline,” the authors of the researchers warn.


    They add that trauma is an experience shared by Ukrainians, by powerless people around the world, by those involved in humanitarian aid, but also by Russians who protest and suffer the consequences.


    “Cumulatively, we fear that a large-scale mental health crisis is impending. Targeted investigations and preparatory measures should be implemented by health-care systems and relief organizations to provide mental health support to vulnerable populations without further delay,” the trauma specialists urge to implement the measures for mental health support.


    The full text of the research may be found here.

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