Oct, 2021 - By SMI
Childhood trauma and violence have been specifically associated with various biological markers that suggest accelerated aging processes.
According to the new research by the research team from Harvard University, traumatic or violent experiences in childhood can exacerbate biological signs of aging. Experiencing difficulty early in life has a direct impact on an individual's physical and mental health, and certain types of trauma can affect the pace of aging. Structural brain changes, rapid cellular aging, and early puberty could all be specifically associated with childhood trauma, however, not neglect or chronic poverty. According to previous studies, childhood trauma can alter an individual's genetic activity by perforating their DNA with specific epigenetic markers.
Moreover, previous studies have investigated how these epigenetic markers may affect stress responses of the brain, and in some cases increased the risk of suicide in adulthood. In addition to being risk factors for stress, depression, and anxiety, early life experiences such as violence, neglect, and poverty are powerful predictors of physical health outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even early mortality, according to the senior author, Katie McLaughlin. The new research offers one of the strongest evidence, involving over 80 detailed studies. During this research, the researchers examined three aging markers; onset of puberty, structural brain development, and cellular aging.
Cellular epigenetic markers were also found to increase among children undergoing violence, however, not those who experiencing poverty or deprivation. The onset of puberty was also particularly noted in children undergoing violent trauma. According to the first author, Natalie Colich, biological markers can help doctors detect children suffering from abuse, and allow preventive measures to be implemented to promote healthy outcomes in adulthood. However, further research is required to find out whether interferences can help teen-agers offset these biological processes and inhibit health outcomes in adulthood. The research was published in the Psychological Bulletin journal.
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