Child abuse ‘has serious consequences for brain development’

frightened-boy

Child abuse ‘has serious consequences for brain development’

Written by : Honor Whiteman

A new study recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry
has found an association between child abuse and the reduction of gray
matter in the brain that is responsible for information processing.
Child abuse, also referred to as child
maltreatment, describes all forms of physical and emotional abuse,
sexual abuse, neglect, negligence and any other exploitation that harms
the health, development, dignity or survival of a child under the age of
18 years.
The World Health Organization (WHO)
state that worldwide, around 20% of women and 5-10% of men report being
sexually abused as children, while 23% of individuals report being
physically abused during childhood.
Past research has established that child
abuse can lead to alterations in brain structure. But the team involved
in this latest study, including Joaquim Radua, a researcher at FIDMAG
Sisters Hospitallers Foundation for Research and Teaching in Spain, says
neuroimaging studies investigating the extent of these alterations have
been “inconsistent.”
With this in mind, the researchers set out to see just how much child maltreatment influences brain structure.

Findings show ‘serious consequences of child abuse on brain development’

The team analyzed the data of 12 studies
that used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) – a neurorimaging method that
assesses differences in brain anatomy between two groups of individuals.
The studies included 56 children or
adolescents and 275 adults with a history of childhood abuse, as well as
56 children and 306 adults who had not been exposed to childhood
maltreatment.
Using a 3D meta-analytical neuroimaging
technique created by Radua – called “signed differential mapping” – the
team was able to determine the volumes of gray matter in each
individual.
They found that the individuals
who had been exposed to childhood maltreatment had much smaller volumes
of gray matter in certain brain areas, compared with those who had no
history of child abuse.
In detail, those who had a history of
child abuse had reduced gray matter in their the right
orbitofrontal/superior temporal gyrus, amygdala, the parahippocampal and
middle temporal gyri and the left inferior frontal and post central
gyri.
The team notes that the most consistent
reduction of gray matter volume among those exposed to child abuse was
in the ventrolateral prefrontal and limbic-temporal regions – areas
linked to cognitive control.
Since these brain regions
develop relatively late – after the child abuse may have occurred – the
team says this may explain why some victims of child abuse typically
have compromised cognitive control.
In addition, the team found that
reductions in gray matter in the right orbitofrontal-temporal-limbic and
left inferior frontal regions of those with a history of child abuse
remained even among those who were unmedicated, “indicating that these
abnormalities were not related to medication but to maltreatment,” says
Radua.
Radua comments further:
“These findings show the serious consequences of adverse childhood environments on brain development.
We hope the results of this study will
help to reduce environmental risks during childhood and to develop
treatments to stabilize these morphologic alterations.”
In 2012, Medical News Today
reported on a position statement from the American Academy of
Pediatrics, which states that mental abuse in young children can be just
as damaging as physical abuse.
Source : http://ift.tt/1lgvwFT

Leave a Reply

Name *
Email *
Website
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.

from Blogger http://ift.tt/2exn8lF
via IFTTT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *