June 24, 2019 § Leave a comment
CHILDHOOD abuse has long been suspected of increasing a person’s risk of developing disease later in life. Now researchers studying inflammation in the bloodstream think they might know why.
Previous studies have suggested that childhood trauma increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and other disorders normally associated with obesity in adulthood.
To investigate further, Andrea Danese at King’s College London and his colleagues monitored 1000 people in New Zealand from birth to the age of 32, noting any factors that created stress, and recorded levels of C-reactive protein in their blood. The protein is a marker of inflammation and has been linked to heart disease.
They found that people who reported having been physically or sexually abused, or rejected by their mothers at a young age, were twice as likely to have significant levels of C-reactive protein in their blood (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0610362104).
Danese believes that stress induces abnormal levels of inflammation in children, which has repercussions in adulthood. “Inflammation is a natural response to physical trauma such as cutting yourself or getting an infection,” he says, “but psychological stress can also trigger inflammation, because stress is really the anticipation of pain.”
He suggests that constant stress could also reduce a child’s ability to produce glucocorticoid hormones, which are the main mechanism the body uses to turn off inflammation. His team now plans further work to measure glucocorticoid levels in people who were exposed to stress during childhood.
“This is much stronger than simply saying that people who have a harder time in childhood are more miserable or depressed as adults,” says Andrew Steptoe at University College London, who has studied the relationship between emotional triggers and heart disease. “They have elegantly connected childhood stress to a real adult risk of disease.”
Danese hopes his work will help people identify those at risk of developing heart disease at an earlier age.
For more information on ACE click here
June 19, 2019 § Leave a comment
ACE aware Scotland just put together the most amazing conference in Glasgow last week. Gabor Mate was the guest speaker the Hungarian-born Canadian physician with a background in family practice and a special interest in childhood development and trauma, and in their potential lifelong impacts on physical and mental health, including on autoimmune disease, cancer, ADHD, addictions and a wide range of other conditions.
I counted 3 standing ovations during the day, amazing considering the bulk of the audience was made up of downtrodden thrid sector / nhs managers. For one day, listening to the speakers, they had hope. Hope that sense would prevail. Gabor spoke about illness caused by exposure to ACE’s and how it manifests itself in later life, in autoimmune diseases, mental health issues and even MS. Dealing with the elephant in the room, the trauma itself rather than the effects of the trauma results in a much better outcome – research led – evidence based. One of the biggest cheers came when Gabor spoke about when he gave evidence to a government committee in the USA. He spoke about ACEs and how we should include an understanding of them in treatment. They didn’t listen and just kept asking the same questions over and over again. Eventually he said ‘you expect me as a physician to practice evidence based medicine, but you don’t practice evidence based politics’.
For more about ACE go to mindschange.co.uk