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The Impact of Stress on Brain Development in Children

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by ashley gomez

BSC 4931Senior Seminar

Introduction

  • Interactions between the mind and body
  • Brain directs hormones
  • Children are especially vulnerable to stress
  • Their brains and bodies are still developing

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childhood stress

  • Possible stressors
    • Neglect, abuse, bullying, and family income
  • Types of trauma
    • Acute trauma
    • Chronic trauma
    • Complex trauma

Pre-birth stress

  • Post Partum Depression in mothers
  • Prenatal stress increases cortisol levels
  • Altered brain structure in preschool (Bustamente, 2022)

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Parts of the Brain Affected

Pre-frontal cortex- Regulates emotions like fear- ReasoningImpulse control- Problem solving and creativity

Amygdala- Fight or Flight mode- Regulates anxiety

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Hippocampus- Learning- Episodic memory- Regulates motivation

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EDMR THERAPY

  • Moving the eyes in a calculated way
  • Stimulates the brain
  • Victim recounts traumatic events

MEDITATION

  • Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
  • Lowers muscle tension
  • Coping strategies

Exercise

  • Light to moderate exercise, like aerobics
  • Decreaeses inflammation
  • Decreases cortisol levels

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Conclusion

  • Stress has an influence over the brain.
  • Affects the hippocampus, amygdala, and pre-frontal cortex
  • Children are vulnerable position
  • Multiple ways to recover
  • Address the effects during development

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References

1. Bustamante, D., Amstadter, A. B., Pritikin, J. N., Brick, T. R., & Neale, M. C. (2022). Associations Between Traumatic Stress, Brain Volumes and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Children: Data from the ABCD Study. Behavior Genetics, 52(2), 75–91. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-021-10092-6 2. Davis, E. P., Hankin, B. L., Glynn, L. M., Head, K., Kim, D. J., & Sandman, C. A. (2020). Prenatal Maternal Stress, Child Cortical Thickness, and Adolescent Depressive Symptoms. Child Development, 91(2), e432–e450. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13252 3. Hendrix, C. L., Srinivasan, H., Feliciano, I., Carré, J. M., & Thomason, M. E. (2022). Fetal Hippocampal Connectivity Shows Dissociable Associations with Maternal Cortisol and Self-Reported Distress during Pregnancy. Life (2075-1729), 12(7), 943. https://doi.org/10.3390/life12070943 4. Herzberg, M. P., Hunt, R. H., Thomas, K. M., & Gunnar, M. R. (2020). Differential brain activity as a function of social evaluative stress in early adolescence: Brain function and salivary cortisol. Development and Psychopathology, 32(5), 1926–1936. https://doi.org/10.1017/s095457942000125x . 5. Huber, R. S., Sheth, C., Renshaw, P. F., Yurgelun-Todd, D. A., & McGlade, E. C. (2022). Suicide Ideation and Neurocognition Among 9- and 10-Year Old Children in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. Archives of Suicide Research, 26(2), 641–655. https://doi.org/10.1080/13811118.2020.1818657 6. Lebel, C., Walton, M., Letourneau, N., Giesbrecht, G. F., Kaplan, B. J., & Dewey, D. (2016). Prepartum and postpartum maternal depressive symptoms are related to children’s brain structure in preschool. Biological Psychiatry, 80(11), 859–868. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.12.004 7. Shlomi, S., Toledano, R., Nitzan, K., Shahaf, S. D., Break, E. P., Frenkel, D., & Doron, R. (2022). Imbalance in Sirt1 Alternative Splicing in Response to Chronic Stress during the Adolescence Period in Female Mice. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(9), 4945. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23094945

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