Lately, a profusion of adverse childhood experiences research; SC governor’s veto of DV funds called short-sighted

The number of research projects looking at the relationship of adverse childhood experiences and long-term consequences spawned by the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and studies of children’s developing brains seems to be growing. Here are some from the last few weeks. I’ll be looking into the main threads, such as how toxic stress in childhood produces systemic inflammation that affect long-term health, in a later post:

Girls Who Experience Childhood Trauma More Likely To Smoke Later On. (This research was published in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.)

Study: Children abused by parents face increased cancer risk. (This research was published in the Journal on Aging and Health.)

Lifestyle Factors Tied to Higher Blood Pressure in Teens. (This research was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.)

Obese Moms Deplete Fetal Iron. (This research on a small sample of people was published in the Journal of Perinatology.)

Chronic Anxiety Speeds Aging. (This research was

published in PLoS ONE.) And here’s some related research, Bully, Abuse Hasten Aging in Kids, that was published in Molecular Psychiatry in April 2012.

Kicking Habit Adds More Pounds Than Thought. (This research was published in the British Medical Journal.)

Physical punishment led to variety of psychiatric disorders. (This research was published in Pediatrics.) “We should not be using physical punishment on children of any age,” study researcher Dr. Tracie O. Afifi, assistant professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, told WebMD.

Maternal drug abuse history, maltreatment, and functioning in a clinical sample of urban children. (Abstract) “This study highlights the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to prevention and intervention programs needed to diminish adverse socio-environmental conditions prevalent in urban environments.”

Childhood Adversity and Herpesvirus Latency in Breast Cancer Survivors. (Abstract) “These data suggest that those with more childhood adversities have poorer cellular immune function. Conclusions: These findings add to the emerging literature suggesting that adverse early experiences may make people more vulnerable to immune dysregulation in adulthood. The consequences of early adversity appear to persist across the life span.”

Association of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders with somatic or biomedical diagnoses: do population-based utilization study results support the adverse childhood experiences study? (Abstract…the answer was “yes”.)

Childhood adversity and inflammatory processes in youth: A prospective study. (Abstract) “Retrospective studies show that childhood adversity is associated with systemic inflammation in adulthood. This study documents that exposure to adverse events prior to age 8 is associated with elevated inflammation at age 10 and in mid-adolescence. These findings provide prospective evidence for a biological mechanism by which early experiences may shape long-term health. Future studies with earlier assessments of inflammation are necessary in order to elucidate potential sensitive periods and mechanisms that link childhood adversity to later disease vulnerability.”

Caudate gray matter volume in obsessive-compulsive disorder is influenced by adverse childhood experiences and ongoing drug treatment. (Abstract) “Our findings suggest a detrimental effect of ACE on the brain underpinnings of obsessive-compulsive disorder, with an opposite effect of medications.”

Maternal early life experiences and parenting: the mediating role of cortisol and executive function. (Abstract) “This research suggests that early life adversity may affect subsequent parenting.”

Here’s one research project that didn’t mention adverse childhood experiences, but perhaps the researchers should look into it:

Eating Disorders Tied to Drug Use, Drinking — “Adolescent girls with a variety of eating disorders — even conditions less severe than anorexia or bulimia — are at risk for obesity and alcohol and drug use, a prospective study found.”

YOU MAY HAVE HEARD THAT South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed $453,680 for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault last week. In her explanation, she wrote:

“Each of these lines attempts to serve a portion of our population for which we extend our sympathy and encouragement, but nevertheless, it is only a small portion of South Carolina’s chronically ill or abused. Overall, these special add-on lines distract from the agency’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.”

William Kellibrew IV, deputy director and national victims advocate, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, slammed her decision, calling it short-sighted (the research, above, supports his point of view):

Governor Haley may think that the only thing victims of violent crimes need is  ‘sympathy and encouragement;’ however, as a person who as a child witnessed the brutal murder of my family in our living room, I assure you that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault need extensive medical and mental health care services. The lack of services adds tremendously to the public health crisis and becomes more costly in the long run. I did not receive desperately-needed therapy or support for three years after my mother and sister brother were murdered so I understand that cutting funding for victims is dangerous and a direct slap in the face to those who need these services the most. Reducing funding sounds contrary to the agency’s mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.

The legislature can override her veto when they reconvene.


  1. Thanks for the links, Jane and the focus on the ACES too high (love the name of the blog-how true!). We in the field have been touting these numbers for 20 years and the ACE study is finally the empirical evidence to back it up. Now it’s time to DO SOMETHING!


  2. Jane, thank you for sharing this article. It puts a fire in my belly with the continued turning a blinds eye to the health a d well being of our children. The research is clear about the impact of Ace’s and the acknowledgement from our legislatures is to ignore the problem now and then react to it when it is much more costly, a heavy burden on our tax dollars, Healthcare, and incarceration. They just don’t get it or want to get it. We ignore them as children and punish them as adults. We need a national campaign to call our legislatures out on the health and well being of our children.


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