Intervention de Ruth Müller and Martha Kenney, Technische Universität München and San Francisco State University, dans le cadre de la série de séminaires internationaux organisés par L. Chiapperino et C. Fasel en lien avec le projet Ambizione du FNS "Constructing the Biosocial : an engaged inquiry into epigenetics and post-genomic biosciences".
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have become a topic of public and scientific attention. ACEs denote a range of negative experiences in early life, from sexual abuse to emotional neglect, that are thought to impact health over the life course. The term was coined in the CDC-Kaiser-ACE study, an epidemiological study that asked 17,000 adults about ACEs and their current health. Shortly after the study was published in 1998, the US CDC deemed ACEs the most important predictor of life course health; however, it is only recently that ACEs feature prominently in scientific and public discourses. We contend that this recent attention is linked to the adoption of epigenetic explanations for how ACEs affect health. Based on a literature analysis, we trace the evolution of explanatory frameworks for ACEs – from coping behaviors to allostatic load to epigenetics – and analyze how each of these explanations not only reconsiders the mechanisms by which ACEs affect health, but also who should be held responsible for addressing ACEs and how. Epigenetics provides distinctly different discursive possibilities than previous frameworks: firstly, it offers one distinct molecular mechanism for how ACEs work, lending “molecular credibility” to epidemiological findings; secondly, it raises the possibility of reversing the negative effects of ACEs on the biological level. This epigenetic articulation makes ACES attractive for new actors in science and society. Particularly, it facilitates novel interdisciplinary collaborations and attracts actors in health advocacy who are interested in non-deterministic readings of ACEs that counteract stigma and support positive health interventions and healing.
Zoom link : https://epfl.zoom.us/j/66516277875