How Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect the Developing Brain
Researchers like Dr. Nadine Burke Harris have recognized the negative impacts that adverse childhood experiences can have on health. But now we understand more about the resiliency factors as well.
Unfortunately, not all kids have the same experiences growing up. While some have a comfortable, relatively happy home life, others have to deal with situations like poverty, violence, or death of others at a young age.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was the first to bring the term “adverse childhood experience” or ACE into the mainstream with her September 2014 TED talk that has received over two million views. She describes how too many stressors (especially those invoked by parents) as a child can have real impacts on the developing brain. Later, those impacts can show up as heart disease or lung cancer:
If you know or work with a child who has gone through challenging times, it’s a natural instinct to want to help them. But perhaps you’re not really sure what to do, what would really help. New research might have some ideas about what's needed in those situations in order for children to become resilient.
It appears as though kids who have gone through four or more ACEs have a higher likelihood of both physical and mental health problems down the road. But, the child’s “family, social, and community assets” were critical to helping him or her thrive despite the challenges. Those are some broad categories, but the research specifically mentions factors such as strong maternal mental health and “patient-centered, coordinated medical care” as some of the most important factors in the findings.
Research has also connected a marker of diabetes control with ACEs and levels of parent education. Children whose parents had at least a high school diploma were less likely to have high levels of the diabetes control marker when compared to children whose parents did not complete high school education. It looks as though for many different health factors, how you grow up matters.
These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.
We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.
Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.
For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.
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