Bad childhood impairs immune system later

December 10th, 2009 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 10 (IANS) Childhood abuse, neglect or adversities during childhood can impair an adults’ nervous and immune systems, according to a new research.
Negative experiences in childhood may alter not only mental health but also physical health, into middle age and beyond, says research from the Institute of Psychiatry at the King’s College, London.

One thousand individuals were followed from birth to age 32 as part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study in New Zealand.

At age 32, study subjects, who had experienced these childhood traumas were more likely to exhibit depression, chronic inflammation and metabolic markers of increased health risk.

These three factors are known to be associated with the physiology of stress-response systems and predict higher risk for age-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia.

Adults, who had been maltreated as children, were twice as likely to suffer major depression and chronic inflammation.

Children who grew up poor or socially isolated were twice as likely to show metabolic risk markers at age 32.

“We live increasingly longer lives and our extra years of life should be healthy, productive and enjoyable, not years of disease and disability,” says Andrea Danese, study leader and lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, according to a King’s College release.

“In this study, we observed that childhood experiences may affect health in old age, regardless of the risk factors that health policies are currently targeting,” he adds.

These findings appeared in the December issue of Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

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