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PACEs in Early Childhood

Association of Timing of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Caregiver Support With Regionally Specific Brain Development in Adolescents []


By Joan L. Luby, Rebecca Tillman, Deanna M. Barch, JAMA Network Open, September 18, 2019

Question: Is there developmental timing and regional specificity to the associations among adverse childhood experiences, caregiver support, and structural brain development in childhood?

Findings: This cohort study of 211 children and their caregivers during 4 waves of neuroimaging and behavioral assessments from preschool to adolescence found an association between the interaction of preschool adverse childhood experiences and support during school age and the structural development of the amygdala and hippocampus, with volumes of these regions being the largest in children with low adverse childhood experiences and high caregiver support. In contrast, both preschool adverse childhood experiences and support were independently associated with the development of the caudate.

Meaning: Findings may inform the timing and targets for prevention of poor outcomes related to exposure to adversity.

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