Adverse events during first years of life may have greatest effect on future mental health

Redactie, ‘Adverse events during first years of life may have greatest effect on future mental health’, https://www.massgeneral.org/news/press-release/adverse-events-during-first-years-of-life-may-have-greatest-effect-on-future-mental-health, Massachusetts General Hospital (MAY | 1 | 2019)

A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) study has found evidence that children under 3 years old are most the vulnerable to the effects of adversity – experiences including poverty, family and financial instability, and abuse – on their epigenetic profiles, chemical tags that alter gene expression and may have consequences for future mental health. (…) These findings suggest that the first three years of life may be an especially important period for shaping biological processes that ultimately give rise to mental health conditions. If these results are replicated, they imply that prioritizing policies and interventions to children who experienced adversity during those years may help reduce the long-term risk for problems like depression. (…) Studies conducted in both animals and humans have found that adverse experiences early in life can have lasting effects on epigenetics, the process by which chemical tags added to a DNA sequence control whether or not a gene is expressed.