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Author Topic: Trauma and Early Brain Development  (Read 2899 times)

Offline LHemisphere

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Trauma and Early Brain Development
« on: 14/10/2006 02:47:56 »
I'm not a scientist. I searched for this site - or something like it hoping that someone on here can help me find answers.
There seems to be more and more research happening in the area of early brain development and the effect that chronic exposure to trauma (abuse). What I can't find is research that has used adults who were chronically abused as children, received no treatment and left to try to function as best they could. I need to find out if anyone is aware of this kind of study taking place and where. I'm also curious as to how a scientist or clinician chooses an area to research, how grants or funding is received and so on.
Anyone's help would be very much appreciated.

"Our brains are sculpted by our early experiences. Maltreatment is a chisel that shapes a brain to contend with strife, but at the cost of deep, enduring wounds."
              --Teicher, 2000,


 

Offline Zoey

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Re: Trauma and Early Brain Development
« Reply #1 on: 15/10/2006 05:58:46 »
Try a google search on "post traumatic stress" "amygdala"
Zoey
 

Offline Gaia

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Re: Trauma and Early Brain Development
« Reply #2 on: 15/10/2006 16:05:55 »
Although not exactly what you were asking, there is another interesting angle to your question.

There is evidence showing that mothers exposed to high stress levels in the third trimester (ie months 6-9 inclusive) of pregnancy and who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) in the wake of the 9/11 events in the USA, gave birth to babies with depressed cortisol levels. Both the mothers and their one-year-old babies had significantly reduced levels of the cortisol hormone. Similar studies were carried out in New York on Holocaust survivors and their children, low cortisol levels again being found in both.

BBC radio 4 has broadcast a couple of programmes on the topic, I don't know if you can get hold of the transcripts or not.

Cortisol (known as ‘the stress hormone’) is produced in reaction to stress, higher levels indicating a higher stress response. Cortisol enables the body to react to the stressful situation by ensuring, via a series of physiological functions, that the brain has enough energy to deal with the stressors. I wonder if the depressed cortisol levels could be one of the reasons for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and if the inherited decrease could be an adaptive response to increased parental stress levels – so that the PTSD-patients and their offspring are not permanently 'hyper-stimulated' in response to stress?

This information comes from issues 31 and 32 of Second Generation Voices, the newsletter/magazine of the Second Generation Network www.secondgeneration.org.uk


Gaia  xxx
 

Offline LHemisphere

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Re: Trauma and Early Brain Development
« Reply #3 on: 15/10/2006 17:14:10 »
"Try a google search on "post traumatic stress" "amygdala""

Thanks for this - I had been googling PTSD and found that most research was on combat vets. I came across one article that suggests Complext PTSD is a more appropriate diagnosis for someone having suffered long term abuse in childhood. When I searched amygdala - which was new for me - everything opened up from there. I've found two studies so currently ongoing and accepting participants. You've been very, very helpful. Thank you!

"Our brains are sculpted by our early experiences. Maltreatment is a chisel that shapes a brain to contend with strife, but at the cost of deep, enduring wounds."
              --Teicher, 2000,
 

Offline Zoey

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Re: Trauma and Early Brain Development
« Reply #4 on: 16/10/2006 01:59:18 »
Good that helped. As in the post from Gaia, try also looking into cortisol and brain or PTSD.
Gaia, thanks for the information on cortisol and the link. I need to have more information about it.
Lhemisphere,

You may also want to look up Antonio Demasio and his work and writing in this area. I looked into this myself because the hippocampus and amygdala of my right hemisphere were first damaged by strokes from an arteriovenous malformation. Later they were removed [right side] in a failed temporal lobectomy to try and control my seizures. The damage certainly "altered" my behaviors and thinking in many ways. Ultimately I overcame the seizures on my own without drugs and know many of the changes now attributed to the effects of damage to the amygdala [and other areas of brain and behavior] can be overcome. Good luck in your searching! What we are not seeing much of in terms of research or hypothesis, are the long term effects of positive conditioning on the brain.
Zoey
 

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Re: Trauma and Early Brain Development
« Reply #4 on: 16/10/2006 01:59:18 »

 

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