The Science of Epigenetics
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Back in my undergraduate days, it was popular to debate whether something was the result of nature or of nurture. Musical talent, intelligence, and athletic abilities had avid proponents on both sides of the argument. Later, during my graduate studies in psychology, it was important that I learned whether a psychiatric illness was organic or functional, in other words, a product of the brain or of the mind. Organic illnesses were those with known biological causes such as Alzheimer’s and Korsakoff’s, whereas functional disorders were ones thought to be caused by emotional conflict. At the time, depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder were thought to fall in the functional category. By sorting disorders into dichotomous categories, we were comforted by the illusion that we had an understanding of the human condition. Fortunately, we have come a long way in the past few decades….