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A 1998 ice storm was so stressful on pregnant women, it shows up in DNA of their kids

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Canadian researchers have determined that prenatal maternal stress can permanently alter the DNA of children, Neomatica reports.

Studies carried out on animals have yielded similar results, but “human research is hampered by the lack of experimental methods that parallel controlled animal studies,” the researchers wrote, because subjecting pregnant women to stress levels capable of having an epigenetic effect on their children violates medical researchers ethical standards.

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“Disasters, however, provide natural experiments that can provide models of prenatal stress.”

So Lei Cao-Lei and Suzanne King, both of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, took advantage of one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history — the Great Ice Storm of 1998 — to study the effect of severe hardship on pregnant women.

Shortly after the storm, the researchers recruited 176 pregnant women to participate in what they call now Project Ice Storm. They assessed their degree of objective hardship — how long they were without electricity — as well as their subjective distress.

Thirteen years later, they tested the genes of 36 of the children born of these women to see whether objective hardship or subjective distress had an effect on them.

How stressed the women felt during the 1998 ice storm turned out to have no effect on the DNA profiles of their children. However, objective hardship — the number of days a woman was deprived of electricity — had a strong correlation to changes in genes related to immune function.

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The researchers determined that the number of days an expectant mother was deprived of electricity created a change in their children’s immune systems that was “consistent with a change in gene programming of the immune system itself in response to stress.”

The children inherited an immune system that was, in essence, responding to the prenatal stress experienced by their mothers.

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‘Dead wrong’: House Dems release scathing rebuttal to White House’s widely panned legal brief

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The Trump White House's latest defense of the president ahead of his impending impeachment trial has been widely panned, and has even sparked speculation that Trump himself had a hand in writing it due to its low-grade legal analysis.

A legal brief filed by President Donald Trump's lawyers late last week called impeachment proceedings "constitutionally invalid," even though impeachment is literally a part of the Constitution, and also accused Democrats of engaging in a "brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election," even though Vice President Mike Pence would take over in the event that Trump was removed by the Senate.

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White nationalist speaker heckled for denying Holocaust at Virginia gun march: ‘You are literally a neo-Nazi’

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A white nationalist speaker who has been affiliated with neo-Nazi rhetoric was caught on video denying the Holocaust at a pro-Second Amendment march in Richmond, Virginia.

The remarks were made by former Proud Boy Jovanni Valle, who goes by the name Jovi Val. Video clips of Valle's speech were shared on Twitter by writer Robert Evans.

"You wear a swastika and walk down the street," a man can be heard telling Valle. "You took it off and now you are like, oh no. You are denying the existence of the Holocaust."

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‘Not supposed to be that way!’ Bitter Trump whines about Senate possibly letting John Bolton testify

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President Donald Trump on Monday whined about the Senate potentially letting former national security adviser John Bolton testify during his impeachment trial.

"They didn’t want John Bolton and others in the House," the president wrote on Twitter. "They were in too much of a rush. Now they want them all in the Senate. Not supposed to be that way!"

In reality, the House impeachment investigators tried to get Bolton to testify during their inquiry, but he refused to appear unless he got legal clearance to do so. However, Bolton has now offered to testify before the Senate even though he did not comply with House requests to do the same.

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