Breaking News
March 20, 2018 - Stem cell treatment may help rejuvenate ovaries, avoid effects of premature menopause
March 20, 2018 - FDA Approves Hizentra (Immune Globulin Subcutaneous [Human] 20% Liquid) for the Treatment of Patients With Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
March 20, 2018 - Death Strikes Young in RA
March 20, 2018 - Quiescent cells also mutate
March 20, 2018 - Stem cell-derived ocular cells treat severe AMD
March 20, 2018 - Mediterranean diet appears to be good for postmenopausal women’s bones and muscles
March 20, 2018 - Scientists discover rare childhood liver cancer’s ability to metastasize to the brain
March 20, 2018 - Treating metastatic breast cancer with immunotherapy
March 20, 2018 - The 5:2 diet could have beneficial impact on important risk markers for cardiovascular disease
March 20, 2018 - Neanderthals Just Part of the Evolutionary Puzzle
March 20, 2018 - Higher Mortality With Surgery for Early NSCLC
March 20, 2018 - Researchers go skin deep to explore what causes wrinkles
March 20, 2018 - E-cigarette use linked to fat accumulation in the liver
March 20, 2018 - Fearful worms provide new clues about human anxiety
March 20, 2018 - Oral micronized progesterone may reduce hot flashes, night sweats in perimenopausal women
March 20, 2018 - Newer treatment for type 2 diabetes reduces liver fat in patients with NAFLD
March 20, 2018 - I.D. Break: PrEP Map; Faulty Flu Meds; Better Zika Test?
March 20, 2018 - Bronchial thermoplasty can improve severe asthmatic cough
March 19, 2018 - Speeding up wound healing using nanofiber dressings
March 19, 2018 - Summit Announces New Analysis Showing Ezutromid Significantly Reduced Muscle Inflammation in Phase 2 Clinical Trial in DMD
March 19, 2018 - Optimizing Sham Acupuncture: That’s Improbable!
March 19, 2018 - Women who have gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at higher risk of future health issues
March 19, 2018 - Viagra cuts colorectal cancer risk in animal model
March 19, 2018 - Vitamin B12 supplementation could postpone disease progression in Parkinson’s patients
March 19, 2018 - Study shows that omega-6 fatty acids could protect against premature death
March 19, 2018 - TherapeuticsMD Announces FDA Acceptance of New Drug Application (NDA) and Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) Date for TX-001HR
March 19, 2018 - Minorities More Sensitive To Pain? Pain Medicine News Report
March 19, 2018 - Low blood sugar poses unaddressed threat to people with type 2 diabetes
March 19, 2018 - ACEA goes live with exhaustive, searchable library of NovoCyte publications
March 19, 2018 - Consumption of low-calorie sweeteners could promote metabolic syndrome, increase diabetes risk
March 19, 2018 - Wearable medical patch shows promise for early detection of hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes
March 19, 2018 - High-energy breakfast leads to better diabetes control and weight loss
March 19, 2018 - D.C. Week: Community Health Centers Get Azar’s Love
March 19, 2018 - Younger siblings of SIDS victims have four-fold increased risk of sudden death
March 19, 2018 - Toothpaste alone does not prevent dental erosion or hypersensitivity
March 19, 2018 - Discovery aids understanding of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
March 19, 2018 - Hormone imbalance may be reason for higher diabetes rates among men with insufficient sleep
March 19, 2018 - Docs worry there’s ‘nowhere to send’ new and expectant moms with depression
March 19, 2018 - Obesity linked to increased DNA damage in breast epithelium of BRCA mutation carriers
March 19, 2018 - Heart rate increases with higher alcohol consumption
March 19, 2018 - Template produced for clinically validated DIY stethoscope
March 19, 2018 - Experts highlight nocturia as most common cause of poor night’s sleep
March 19, 2018 - Fit Middle-Aged Women May Fend Off Dementia Later
March 19, 2018 - Fake Insta Doc; Humana’s Weird Pay Bump Tax Trick; Few NPDB Searches
March 19, 2018 - Guidelines for fluoride intake—are they appropriate?
March 19, 2018 - Race and pre-pregnancy BMI may be key predictors of maternal weight gain
March 19, 2018 - Telediabetes program improves blood sugar control for veterans
March 19, 2018 - Research suggests breastfeeding as protective factor against obesity in high-birthweight infants
March 19, 2018 - Morning Break: House Nixes ‘Right-to-Try’ Bill; Purdue’s PR Makeover; Air in the Brain
March 19, 2018 - Heart researchers develop a new, promising imaging technique for cardiac arrhythmias
March 19, 2018 - Mice study shows how BPA exposure during pregnancy can lead to altered brain development
March 19, 2018 - Breastfeeding mothers who overeat may increase risk of health problems in offspring
March 19, 2018 - New mobile application can detect atrial fibrillation that causes strokes
March 19, 2018 - Study finds low rates of preconception counseling among women of childbearing age with diabetes
March 19, 2018 - Vitl Life Science Solutions announces launch of new Lu-mini at analytica 2018
March 19, 2018 - ObsEva SA Reports Positive Topline Results from IMPLANT2 Phase 3 Clinical Trial of Nolasiban in IVF
March 19, 2018 - D.C. Week: States Plead for Federal $$ in Opioid Fight
March 19, 2018 - Polycystic ovary syndrome – Genetics Home Reference
March 19, 2018 - Reducing co-payments improves patient, physician adherence to guideline-recommended treatment post-MI
March 19, 2018 - Normalizing estrogen levels can benefit female athletes with irregular menstrual periods
March 19, 2018 - Fitness trackers and virtual coaches motivate patients to exercise post cardiac rehab
March 19, 2018 - Atrial fibrillation patients could reduce risk of dementia by taking stroke prevention drugs
March 19, 2018 - Low sperm count more prevalent with other health problems finds study
March 19, 2018 - Male birth control pill taken once a day shows success
March 19, 2018 - AcelRx Announces Receipt of Type A FDA Meeting Minutes and Plans to Resubmit the DSUVIA New Drug Application in Q2 2018
March 19, 2018 - Eye Docs Adopt EHRs Despite Reservations
March 19, 2018 - CRISPR enhances cancer immunotherapy
March 19, 2018 - Study finds first evidence of delayed aging among Americans
March 19, 2018 - Aussies unaware of sun protection rules to prevent skin cancer
March 19, 2018 - Essential oils linked to abnormal breast development in boys
March 19, 2018 - ‘Tummy Tuck’ Relieved Postpartum Back Pain/Incontinence
March 19, 2018 - New biomarkers for neuroblastoma, a type of cancer in children
March 19, 2018 - Hookah Smoking Carries a Poisoning Risk
March 19, 2018 - Do Mood and Anxiety Affect MS Disability?
March 19, 2018 - Mean depth of ultrasonographic penetration greater in autism
March 19, 2018 - Platypus milk may help combat antibiotic resistance
March 19, 2018 - U.S. IDE study of THERMOCOOL SMARTTOUCH SF Catheter completes patient enrollment
March 18, 2018 - E-cigarette use exposes adolescents to potentially cancer-causing chemicals
March 18, 2018 - GOP Senator: Solve Opioid Crisis Through Community, Not Policy
March 18, 2018 - Why is ADHD more common in boys than girls?
Early childhood adversities linked to health problems in tweens, teens

Early childhood adversities linked to health problems in tweens, teens

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Washington University researchers Deanna M. Barch, PhD, (left) and Joan L. Luby, MD, examine brain images from MRI scans of children. They found that adverse experiences in young children are linked to differences in a brain structure that regulates emotions and helps make decisions. The researchers also connected those bad experiences to depression and health problems in children as young as 9. Credit: Robert Boston

Adverse experiences in childhood—such as the death of a parent, growing up in poverty, physical or sexual abuse, or having a parent with a psychiatric illness—have been associated with physical and mental health problems later in life. But new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has shown that multiple adverse experiences in early childhood are linked to depression and physical health problems in kids as young as 9 to 15. Further, the researchers have identified a potential pathway in the brain to explain how such stressful experiences influence poor health in kids.

The researchers found that a key brain structure involved in regulating emotions and decision-making is smaller in kids who have lived through three or more adverse experiences before the age of 8, compared with kids whose lives were more stable. Young children who faced multiple adverse experiences also were 15 percent more likely to develop severe depression by their preteen and early teen years and 25 percent more likely to have physical health problems, such as asthma and gastrointestinal disorders. Due to the health problems, these kids were more likely to miss school.

The new findings are published Oct. 30 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

“We did not expect we would see health problems in children so young,” said senior investigator and Washington University child psychiatrist Joan L. Luby, MD. “Our findings demonstrate how powerful the psychosocial environment can be. A child’s brain doesn’t develop based solely on its genetic infrastructure. It’s influenced by the stresses of poverty, violence, the loss of a parent, and other adverse experiences, which together can have serious health consequences evident as early as the teen and preteen years.”

The study involved 119 children, who were ages 3 to 6 when the project began. The researchers tracked adverse experiences in the kids’ lives—which also included experiences such as natural disasters, a parent’s arrest, or a parent with a serious illness requiring hospitalization. The children in the study averaged more than five such experiences before the age of 8.

The researchers also performed multiple MRI brain scans of these children when they were ages 6 to 13. The first scans, performed when the children reached school age, showed that the inferior frontal gyrus was smaller in children who had more adverse experiences. The researchers also determined that the structure appears to be part of a pathway through which the stresses of adverse childhood experiences may influence mental and physical health.

“People exposed to adversity early in life experience changes in the volume of the inferior frontal gyrus that probably can make children more vulnerable to behavioral issues and bad decision-making,” theorized Luby, director of Washington University’s Early Emotional Development Program. “We suspect that such changes are associated with issues such as poor diet, risky and more dangerous behavior and generally not taking very good care of yourself, and overall, this contributes to poorer mental and physical health outcomes.”

The video will load shortly.

Growing up in poverty, having a parent die, being physically or sexually abused and other adverse childhood experiences have been linked to health problems in older people, but now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that those adverse experiences in early childhood can be connected to mental and physical health problems in kids as young as 9. They’ve also identified changes in the brain that may be driving those problems. Jim Dryden has more… Credit: Washington University BioMed Radio

Previous research has connected adverse childhood experiences to problems such as cancer, heart disease and mental illness in older people, but no one had looked at whether those stressful experiences are linked to health problems in adolescents. And until now, researchers had not been able to explain how such experiences could contribute to poor health in these kids.

The researchers found that when kids had three or more adverse experiences, they also had smaller brain volumes that, in turn, were associated with lower scores on a scale that measures how well a child expresses emotions. Poor emotional expression has been associated with depression and worse social and emotional outcomes.

Such children also had more physical health problems. Parents reported that kids who had more adverse experiences were more likely to have significant health problems that appeared to affect school attendance.

In earlier research, Luby, who also is the Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Psychiatry, found that kids can be resilient and, with nurturing parenting, may be able to overcome individual stressors such as poverty or the loss of a parent. This new research indicates that when kids accumulate multiple stressors, the experiences pile up and cause problems early in their lives, and family members and doctors need to be aware of the powerful influence of these psychosocial risks so that kids can get the help they need.

Luby added that the study could alter the way doctors and researchers think about the development of disease.

“We know toxins in the environment can contribute to disease, but this study suggests that kids can experience physical and mental health problems from exposure to psychosocial ‘toxins,’ too,” she said.

Luby and her colleagues plan to continue tracking the health of these children as they grow into adulthood. Meanwhile, the researchers also are beginning a multidisciplinary study to follow pregnant women and their infants to see whether psychosocial stressors and adversity experienced during pregnancy and the first three years of a child’s life also affect brain development and overall health.

Explore further:
New psychology study finds adverse childhood experiences transfer from one generation to the next

More information:
Luby JL, Barch D, Whalen D, Tillman R, Belden A. Association between early life adversity and risk for poor emotional and physical health in adolescence: a putative mechanistic neurodevelopmental pathway. JAMA Pediatrics, Oct. 30, 2017. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.3009

Journal reference:
JAMA Pediatrics

Provided by:
Washington University School of Medicine

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles