Experiencing Childhood Trauma Makes Body and Brain Age Faster

Redactie, ‘Experiencing Childhood Trauma Makes Body and Brain Age Faster’, https://neurosciencenews-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/neurosciencenews.com/child-trauma-aging-16757/amp/, Neuroscience News (3 augustus 2020)

Children who suffer trauma from abuse or violence early in life show biological signs of aging faster than children who have never experienced adversity, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. The study examined three different signs of biological aging—early puberty, cellular aging and changes in brain structure—and found that trauma exposure was associated with all three. (…) Exposure to adversity in childhood is a powerful predictor of health outcomes later in life—not only mental health outcomes like depression and anxiety, but also physical health outcomes like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. (…) In a violent and threat-filled environment (…) reaching puberty earlier could make people more likely to be able to reproduce before they die. And faster development of brain regions that play a role in emotion processing could help children identify and respond to threats, keeping them safer in dangerous environments. But these once-useful adaptations may have grave health and mental health consequences in adulthood.

Original Research

“Biological Aging in Childhood and Adolescence Following Experiences of Threat and Deprivation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” by Natalie Colich, PhD, Eileen S. Williams, PhD, and Maya Rosen, PhD, and Katie McLaughlin, PhD. Psycological Bulletin.