View Full Version : Specific Changes in Brain Structure After Different Forms of Child Abuse


mildadhd
06-07-13, 03:19 PM
Specific Changes in Brain Structure After Different Forms of Child Abuse

June 1, 2013 — Different forms of childhood abuse increase the risk for mental illness as well as sexual dysfunction in adulthood, but little has been known about how that happens. An international team of researchers, including the Miller School's Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, has discovered a neural basis for this association. The study, published in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, shows that sexually abused and emotionally mistreated children exhibit specific and differential changes in the architecture of their brain that reflect the nature of the mistreatment.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130601133735.htm

silivrentoliel
06-07-13, 03:36 PM
I didn't read the article itself, but I can imagine abuse probably causes a type of PTSD that definitely changes the chemistry of one's brain, along with how they see/react to everything in life.

When I have the brain power to read the article, I will. I'm intrigued at what they've found.

DcGonzo
06-07-13, 03:41 PM
nice find!

"Our data point to a precise association between experience-dependent neural plasticity and later health problems," said Heim. Pruessner agreed that the "large effect and the regional specificity in the brain that corresponds to the type of abuse is remarkable."

The scientists speculate that a regional thinning of the cortex may serve as a protective mechanism, immediately shielding the child from the experience of the abuse by gating or blocking the sensory experience. However, that thinning of the cortical sections may lay the groundwork for the development of behavioral problems in adulthood. The results of this study extend the literature on neural plasticity and show that cortical representation fields can be smaller when certain sensory experiences are damaging or developmentally inappropriate.

mildadhd
06-07-13, 03:52 PM
I need to read the article again as well.

What I find most interesting so far,

is that similar circumstances and experiences,

affect development of similar brain areas.



i!i

silivrentoliel
06-07-13, 03:55 PM
i would guess that as well... the brain works pretty much the same way in everyone, sensory things should be processed the same way, and trauma is probably the same.

Kunga Dorji
06-10-13, 03:18 AM
For those with the time,
Allan Schore is well respected as a leader in this area:
This short clip covers the basics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0iocZu1mVg&list=PLtOGtGgz5ErTD1rox98-RMW2fYQLz0aJP

Note especially his emphasis that the key to an effective attachment is JOY, not anxiety.
So as parents we can be tired, stressed or just disengaged because of our own ADHD habit- and that will lead to weaknesses in our child's brain development. That is not deliberate, it is not child abuse, it is not bad parenting, it is just having the misfortune of being "born in interesting times" to quote from the old Chinese curse.
Gabor Mate comments that we live in exceptionally difficult times for parenting- and I am sure he is right.
The reasons for this are economic, as our society and economy are being restructured to support the need of the big corporates for a mobile and flexible labour force, leading to the progressive destruction of the extended family, and the "village" that is needed to rear children.

I am not living in the US, but it seems to an informed outsider that that old style village atmosphere is best preserved in the mid West. I have seen some statistics that suggest that ADHD rates are lower there than elsewhere, but that the researchers who noted the geographical variability, correlated the spread with hours of sunshine instead.



I will be following with some links from Dr Daniel Siegel

Kunga Dorji
06-10-13, 03:50 AM
For those with the time,
Allan Schore is well respected as a leader in this area:
This short clip covers the basics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0iocZu1mVg&list=PLtOGtGgz5ErTD1rox98-RMW2fYQLz0aJP

Note especially his emphasis that the key to an effective attachment is JOY, not anxiety.
So as parents we can be tired, stressed or just disengaged because of our own ADHD habit- and that will lead to weaknesses in our child's brain development. That is not deliberate, it is not child abuse, it is not bad parenting, it is just having the misfortune of being "born in interesting times" to quote from the old Chinese curse.
Gabor Mate comments that we live in exceptionally difficult times for parenting- and I am sure he is right.
The reasons for this are economic, as our society and economy are being restructured to support the need of the big corporates for a mobile and flexible labour force, leading to the progressive destruction of the extended family, and the "village" that is needed to rear children.

I am not living in the US, but it seems to an informed outsider that that old style village atmosphere is best preserved in the mid West. I have seen some statistics that suggest that ADHD rates are lower there than elsewhere, but that the researchers who noted the geographical variability, correlated the spread with hours of sunshine instead.



I will be following with some links from Dr Daniel Siegel

Note that Alan Schore emphasises that this attachment process is critical for development of the emotional brain, the limbic system.
I would direct your attention to the book by the neurologist Antonio Damasio: "Descartes Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain".

He gives a very sound reason for us to all understand that our attention is directed by our emotions. That is what emotions are for- to draw our attention to the salient elements of reward and danger in our world.

In this sense the dopamine neurones are better understood as being involved in orienting responses- they orient our attention to both reward and to danger. The differential involvement of the right(danger/avoid) and left(reward/approach) amygdala are of vital importance here.

Again Schore covers the same point:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aybKnSZ26Sw&list=PLr-tYqRzjQB8bnWM1a9kVNI69YcdNJdhX

Very severe early trauma will result in brain development issues such as a small corpus callosum, and difficulty in right- left brain integration, but that is an extreme state.

I have often wondered if some of the issues with attentional stability in ADHD result from our attention being pulled from one object to another- simply because our past experience has left us unable to be sure which choice is the right one, the safe one, the wise one.

That intuition is perfectly consistent with current theory on trauma and attachment and is consistent with the work of some specialists in trauma who find a history of significant adverse childhood events in 80% of children diagnosed with ADHD

http://www.traumacenter.org/about/about_bessel.php

The head of this Institute here has significant input into the formulation of DSM sections related to trauma, so is no lightweight.

dvdnvwls
06-10-13, 04:35 AM
I grew up in a midwest-type old-style village atmosphere. Didn't help.

SB_UK
06-10-13, 05:42 PM
That intuition is perfectly consistent with current theory on trauma and attachment and is consistent with the work of some specialists in trauma who find a history of significant adverse childhood events in 80% of children diagnosed with ADHD

Psych stressing (bad) - the (stress) sensitive (see Barliman,Aron - HSP) (desiring blood glucose levels invariant) ?

Personal perspective - really really really don't like stress (psych) - become dizzy etc

ADD me
06-13-13, 04:10 PM
From the news article, not the scientific one:

Similarly, victims of emotional mistreatment were found to have a reduction of the thickness of the cerebral cortex in specific areas associated with self-awareness, self-evaluation and emotional regulation

Hmm some of the same areas implicated in ADHD.

I also had a strangely wired mother (possibly undiagnosed ADHD, but possibly an affect disorder) who used alcohols and tobacco while pregnant, and I was incredibly small for date, at 4lb, 12oz. Definite emotional and verbal abuse, and a love of reading (books as protective shield).

So perhaps emotional and verbal abuse might also be implicated in ADHD, if perhaps other factors, mainly genetic makeup, predispose one.

Sandy4957
06-13-13, 08:02 PM
Ok, with apologies to the REALLY smart people on this thread who know way more about this stuff than me... :o

What an interesting concept! :eek: So I am genetically predisposed to certain weirdnesses with how my brain deals with dopamine. No big whoop. If I grow up in a household where all is right with the world, I develop a relatively normal brain and whatever weaknesses in "attention direction" I might naturally have are overcome by a strong neural network. So even if each neuron is not firing on all cylinders, there are more cylinders, and no one is ever the wiser. :cool:

But I don't grow up in said household. I grow up in the presence of emotional abuse, physical abuse, and (later) sexual abuse, all before I am 16 years old, while my brain is developing. As a result, I have neural networks that are SET UP to prepare for abandonment, or unmet emotional needs for a very young child. They're SET UP to be on high alert to physical danger. They're SET UP to focus intently on potential boundary encroachments that are the first warning sign of being unsafe sexually. AND ON TOP OF THOSE ARCHITECTURAL ISSUES, I also don't fire on all cylinders when it comes to using dopamine to control attention....

WOW. That really brings the whole concept of "epigenetics" home to me. Cause it makes perfect sense. It explains how I could be such a "mild" case in that I only need tiny doses of the usual medications to see improvement. And it explains how, nonetheless, if you **** with me, I become extremely disabled.

Very interesting stuff. Thanks for posting. :)