Abuse Leaves its Marks on the Brain
MONTREAL, CA. (ConCienciaNews; Science Magazine) – It is known that in children who are victims of abuse, the recovery process is much longer and complicated – something that will affect their development for the rest of their lives. This hypothesis was confirmed by a new study analyzing a group of adult men who were abused during childhood, according to the scientific magazine Science.
The results showed that a gene involved in controlling stress remains affected decades after the child abuse occurs, following a pattern which had also been observed in stressed rats.
Neuroscientist Michael Meney and his team at McGill University in Montreal, Canada identified the same phenomenon in the human brain when making a post-mortem comparison of 12 brains belonging to men who had been abused as a child and had committed suicide with other two groups: men who had committed suicide and had not been victims of abuse and men who had died due to natural causes and had not been victims of abuse.
Researchers took DNA from the hippocampus, an area of the brain area where the gene is active, and found that men who were victims of abuse showed the same changes as rats: changes in the gene that turned it into something less capable of modifying its response to stress, a phenomenon that was not observed in the other two groups.
Meney said in the article in Science that “individuals who have suffered from abuse are less healthy in adulthood,” since evidence shows that not only do they suffer from greater rates of mental disorders, but also from obesity, heart disease and autoimmune disorders.
This study is expected to be the first of many trying to find a relation between abuse and its impact on adults’ physical health.
At present, about 3 million children in the United States are victims of abuse and negligence every year, although according to the ChildHelp organization, non-reported cases may be three times greater in number than this figure. It is also estimated that at least a third part of these children will abuse their own children, perpetuating the terrible cycle of child abuse.
For further help and information on how to prevent child abuse, call 1-800-473-3003.
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