Child Abuse in Adults Some Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :



Director Martin Teicher of the Developmental Biophsychiatry Research Program at McLean said that maltreatment in childhood can effect changes in brain function and structure. A child's brain continues to develop throughout childhood and adolescence. His interactions with the environment create effects, which stabilize in puberty and adulthood. These experiences determine how the child will be wired. The four types of cranial abnormalities, which are permanent, are limbic irritability, arrested development of the left hemisphere, deficient integration between the left and the right hemispheres, and increased vermal activity.

The McLean researchers investigated 253 adults in an outpatient mental health clinic. More than half of them reported a history of physical or sexual abuse in childhood. The researchers found that those who were abused as children scored higher in the Limbic System Checklist. The finding provided evidence that abuse in childhood caused electrical impulses when limbic cells communicate. This results in seizures, indicating limbic irritability. Follow-up studies of 115 children showed that those who were subjected to abuse were twice as likely to suffer from abnormalities in the left hemisphere. These abnormalities were associated with more self-destructive behavior and more aggression.

Studies also offer evidence of deficient development of the left brain hemisphere among patients who were abused as children. In healthy persons, the right hemisphere is often more active. The deficiency may lead to the development of depression and increase the risk of memory problems. There is also reduced integration between the left and right hemispheres in patients with a history of abuse in childhood. The MRI scans of 51 patients with this history were compared with the MRIs of 97 health persons at the National Institute of Mental Health. Tests showed that the corpus callosium of abuse children was smaller than that of healthy children. Neglect appeared to reduce the size from 24-42% in boys. Girls who suffered neglect as children had smaller sized corpus callosum at 18-30%. A smaller corpus callosum reduces integration between the hemispheres and leads to sharp mood or personality shifts.

The researchers used the new MRI technique, called T2 relaxometry, on 32 adults with a history of sexual or intense verbal abuse and those without. Findings showed that those abused patients had higher vermal activity, a response to electrical irritability in the limbic system to restore emotional balance. But trauma itself can injure this ability.

These findings comprised the first comprehensive review of how abuse in childhood can damage their developing brain in the form of disorders, such as anxiety and depression, when they reach adulthood.

The above researches provide evidence that abuse and neglect in childhood is linked to irreversible brain injury, predicts anxiety disorder in latter life, is connected to substance use and sexual and physical victimization in adulthood. Abuse and neglect in childhood have significant and damaging effects in adulthood. #

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Sources Used in Document:

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Business Wire (2000). McLean Researchers document brain damage linked to child abuse and neglect. Business Wire: Gale, Cengage Learning. Retrieved on April 16,

2009 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_mOEIN/is_2000_Dec_14/ai_68013850/?tag=content;col1

Lapp, K.G.; Bosworth, H.B.; Strauss, J.L.; Stechuchak, K.M., et al. (2005). Lifetime

sexual and physical victimization among male veterans with combat-related Post-

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