Childhood Stress Alters Memory and Brain Structure

Kermit Cole
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Researchers from the universities of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New Orleans collected MRI scans and assessments of executive functioning and stress exposure from 61 children aged 9 to 14. Smaller volumes in the prefrontal cortex, specifically the anterior cingulate cortex, were associated with both cumulative life stress and impaired memory. Results are in the June issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Abstract → 

Hanson, J. Chung, M. et al; “Structural Variations in Prefrontal Cortex Mediate the Relationship Between Early Childhood Stress and Spatial Working Memory.” Journal of Neuroscience, June 6, 2012 32(23) 7917-7925

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

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