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Study Shows Childhood Abuse and Neglect can Lead to Long-term Health Issues: ET HealthWorld

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Experiencing abuse, neglect as child linked to lifelong ill-health: Study, ET HealthWorld

A recent research study conducted by the University of Cambridge has revealed that experiencing abuse or neglect as a child can lead to lifelong health issues, making individuals more susceptible to obesity, inflammation, and trauma. The study found that children who were subjected to abusive behavior or emotional and physical neglect were more likely to become obese and experience trauma as adults, which in turn affected their immune system, leading to inflammation.

The researchers utilized brain scans of adults to demonstrate widespread structural changes in the brain associated with obesity, inflammation, and repeated trauma stemming from childhood maltreatment. These structural changes indicated physical damage to the brain cells, affecting their overall functioning. Despite previous knowledge that children who experience abuse are more prone to mental health issues later in life, the exact reasons for this persistence in risk over many decades remained unclear.

The findings of the study provide valuable insights into how adverse childhood events can contribute to an increased lifelong risk of brain and mental health disorders. Edward Bullmore, a professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge and the study’s author, emphasized the importance of identifying biomarkers that could indicate an individual’s increased risk of continued health problems. This research could help identify and support those in need of assistance to break the cycle of ill health.

The study involved examining MRI brain scans of over 21,000 adults aged 40-70, analyzing data from the UK Biobank including body mass index, C-reactive protein levels (indicative of inflammation), and experiences of childhood maltreatment and adult trauma. The findings were published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’.

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