Tuesday November 13, 2018

Childhood adversities may up health issues

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New York, Oct 31:Young children who face adverse problems such as death of a parent, growing up in poverty, physical or sexual abuse, or having a parent with a psychiatric illness are likely to be at a higher risk of developing health problems in adulthood, warn researchers.

Research showed that facing three or more adverse experiences at a time can lead to smaller brain volumes. As a result, children are unable to express their emotions properly, which leads to depression and worse social and emotional outcomes.

Those who faced adversities between the age group of nine to 15 years were 15 per cent more likely to develop severe depression by their pre-teenage years and early teenage years and 25 per cent more likely to suffer physical health problems, like asthma and gastrointestinal disorders.

“Our findings demonstrate how powerful the psychosocial environment can be,” said Joan L. Luby, Professor at the University of Washington in Missouri, US.

“A child’s brain doesn’t develop based solely on its genetic infrastructure. It is influenced by the stresses of poverty, violence, the loss of a parent, and other adverse experiences, which together can have serious health consequences evident as early as the teenage and preteenage years,” she added.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, conducted multiple MRI brain scans on children between three to six years of age which showed that the inferior frontal gyrus — part of the brain important for language comprehension and production — was smaller in children with more adverse experiences.

“People exposed to adversity early in life experience changes in the volume of the inferior frontal gyrus that probably can make children more vulnerable to behavioural issues and bad decision-making,” Luby said.

–IANS

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Researchers found a new Drug to Reduce Alcohol Addiction in Teenagers

The drug is (+)-Naltrexone can reduce the drinking habit in teenagers.

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A new drug can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers
A new drug can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers. Pixabay
  • Researchers have found a new drug that may eventually help to reduce alcohol addiction in adults who used to binge during their adolescent years.

A new drug found which can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers

“During our teen years, the brain is still in a relatively immature state. Binge drinking worsens this situation, as alcohol undermines the normal developmental processes that affect how our brain matures,” said lead author Jon Jacobsen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

“Therefore, when an adolescent who has been binge drinking becomes an adult, they’re often left with an immature brain, which assists in the development of alcohol dependence,” Jacobsen added.

For the study, published in the Journal Neuropharmacology, researchers observed that adolescent mice involved in binge drinking behavior developed an increased sensitivity to alcohol as adults and engaged in further binge drinking.

The researchers were able to prevent some of these detrimental behaviors observed in adulthood, by giving mice a drug that blocks a specific response from the immune system in the brain.

The drug is (+)-Naltrexone, known to block the immune receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).

“This drug effectively switched off the impulse in mice to binge drink. The mice were given this drug still sought out alcohol, but their level of drinking was greatly reduced,” says senior author Professor Mark Hutchinson, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide.

“We’re excited by the finding that we can potentially block binge drinking in an adult after they have experienced such behavior during adolescence, by stopping the activation of the brain’s immune system. It’s the first time this has been shown and gives us hope that our work has implications for the eventual treatment of alcohol addiction in adults,” Hutchinson noted.(IANS)