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ACEs Research Corner — July 2020


[Editor's note: Dr. Harise Stein at Stanford University edits a web site — — that focuses on the health effects of abuse, and includes research articles on ACEs. Every month, she will post the summaries of the abstracts and links to research articles that address only ACEs. Thank you, Harise!! — Jane Stevens]

Heim CM, Entringer S, Buss C.
Translating basic research knowledge on the biological embedding of early-life stress into novel approaches for the developmental programming of lifelong health. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 Jul;105:123-137. PMID: 30578047
Review of the association between exposure to early adversity, including childhood trauma and prenatal stress, and lifelong elevated risk to develop a broad range of diseases; gene-environment interactions; epigenetic and other processes of biological embedding of early adversity; and intergenerational transmission of risk.  Authors advocate that this knowledge must now be translated into interventions, “in order to efficiently prevent or reverse adverse health outcomes.”

Sonu S, Post S, Feinglass J.
Adverse childhood experiences and the onset of chronic disease in young adulthood. Prev Med. 2019 Jun;123:163-170. PMID: 30904602
From a telephone survey of 86,968 adults from 9 states, stratified by age and ACE score, “Among younger respondents, those reporting ≥4 ACEs had two to four times the risk for each chronic condition and poor health status compared to respondents reporting no ACEs…Young adults with high ACE scores are at increased risk of early-onset chronic disease. Trauma-informed care and ACEs prevention are crucial public health priorities.”

Grajewski P, Dragan M.
Adverse childhood experiences, dissociation, and anxious attachment style as risk factors of gaming disorder. Addict Behav Rep. 2020 Mar 3;11:100269. PMID: 32467857
In a study of 1288 gamers, ACEs, dissociation (absorption, depersonalization and amnesia), and relationship anxiety were significant risk factors for symptoms of gaming disorder.

Williams L, Clements-Nolle K, Lensch T, Yang W.
Exposure to adverse childhood experiences and early initiation of electronic vapor product use among middle school students in Nevada. Addict Behav Rep. 2020 Feb 19;11:100266. PMID: 32467855
Nearly 1 in 5 of 5,464 students from 113 Nevada middle schools reported using EVP (electronic vapor products).  “After controlling for sociodemographics, a strong graded relationship between cumulative ACE exposure and early initiation of EVPs was observed.”

Phojanakong P, Welles S, Dugan J, et. al.
Trauma-Informed Financial Empowerment Programming Improves Food Security Among Families With Young Children. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2020 May;52(5):465-473. PMID: 32389241
After controlling for ACEs and depression, of 372 parents of children aged <6 years participating in assistance for needy families, those who fully participated in a trauma-informed series of classes addressing previous exposures to trauma and financial skills were 55% less likely to subsequently face household food insecurity compared to those who did not attend. 

Scanlon F, Schatz D, Scheidell JD, et. al.
National Study of Childhood Traumatic Events and Adolescent and Adult Criminal Justice Involvement Risk: Evaluating the Protective Role of Social Support From Mentors During Adolescence. J Clin Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 20;80(5). pii: 18m12347. PMID: 31433588
“With nearly 11 million people in the United States arrested in 2015, the need to identify antecedent risk factors driving criminal justice involvement (CJI) and possible mitigating factors is crucial.”  In this study of 12,288 adolescents from 1995 to 2008, “Cumulative exposure to childhood trauma was associated with CJI in adolescence (adjusted odds ratios ranging from 2.24 to 25.98) and adulthood (1.82-6.69), and parental incarceration was consistently one of the, if not the, most strongly associated with each form of CJI; the strength of these associations was weakened for those who reported a close mentor.”

Poehlmann-Tynan J, Engbretson A, Vigna AB, et. al.
Cognitively-Based Compassion Training for parents reduces cortisol in infants and young children. Infant Ment Health J. 2020 Jan;41(1):126-144. PMID: 31583748
While 24 parents of children 4 months to 5 years did not have significantly measured changes after a Cognitively-Based Compassion Training class compared to a waitlist control, their children experienced significant decreases in cortisol (stress hormone).

Thames AD, Irwin MR, Breen EC, Cole SW.
Experienced discrimination and racial differences in leukocyte gene expression. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 Aug;106:277-283. PMID: 31029930
Of 71 adults European American/White and African American/Black both with and without HIV+, reported differential exposure to racial discrimination accounted for 50% of the increased pro-inflammatory pathways found in Black participants.  “Racial discrimination may contribute to racial disparities in health outcomes in part by activating threat-related molecular programs that stimulate inflammation and contribute to increased risk of chronic illnesses.”

Colen CG, Li Q, Reczek C, Williams DR.
The Intergenerational Transmission of Discrimination: Children's Experiences of Unfair Treatment and Their Mothers' Health at Midlife. J Health Soc Behav. 2019 Dec;60(4):474-492. PMID: 31912765
From a national longitudinal study, “Children who report more frequent instances of discrimination have mothers whose self-rated health declines more rapidly between ages 40 and 50 years…the negative health impacts of discrimination are likely to operate in a bidirectional fashion across key family relationships.”

Williams DR, Lawrence JA, Davis BA, Vu C.
Understanding how discrimination can affect health. Health Serv Res. 2019 Dec;54 Suppl 2:1374-1388. PMID: 31663121
“Both domestic and international studies find that experiences of discrimination reported by adults are adversely related to mental health and indicators of physical health, including preclinical indicators of disease, health behaviors, utilization of care, and adherence to medical regimens.”

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