Child Adversity Can Have Lasting Impact

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Oct. 11 (UPI) — Children who are abused or neglected may suffer physiological consequences decades later, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Linda Carpenter, associate professor of psychiatry at Brown University, says prior research indicates associations between inflammatory markers — such as cytokines or proteins released in the bloodstream such as interleuken-6 — are linked to depression and anxiety disorders.

The study involved 69 adults, ranging in age from their late teens to early 60s. They were administered tests to ensure that the subjects were mentally healthy and not taking any medicines or drugs. The team surveyed the study subjects extensively about their childhood experiences. Nineteen reported moderate to severe neglect or abuse.

The study subjects were given a stress test involving a role-playing exercise before “judges” explaining their job qualifications and then counting backwards from a number by 13s.

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, finds that among those who reported adverse childhood experiences, the concentrations of interleukin-6 in their blood were always elevated above those of the control group — this gap widened as the subject recovered from the psychological stress during several hours after the role-play.

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