Childhood Trauma May Lead To Brain Damage
February 25, 2010
(ChattahBox) – While the emotional repercussions of childhood trauma and abuse have been documented for some time, a new study has shown proof of brain damage in those children who have had traumatic experiences growing up.
The researchers at School of Medicine and Trinity Institute for Neuroscience, led by Professor Thomas Frodl, took MRI’s of 24 patients between the ages of 18 and 65.
All of these patients had been treated for severe depression, and were given an assessment of their childhood and traumatic experience.
When compared to the control group they showed significant structural differences within the brain, which along with genetic factors made them more susceptible to depression.
“This improved neurobiological understanding shows how stress and genetic variants interact and affect brain structure and function,” Frodl explains.
“In turn it demonstrates how it could affect a person’s propensity for depression. These structural alterations of the brain are associated with a higher vulnerability to depression and a more chronic course of the depression might be associated with further structural changes.
“Therefore, early intervention in the case of major depression is necessary to increase the chance of a good disease outcome. Fortunately, depression can be treated very well by psychotherapy and antidepressant medication. Moreover, prevention strategies for childhood neglect and misuse are highly important to increase public health and to avoid in later life for these individuals, the burden of major depression.”
The study has been published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.