Childhood trauma’s lasting effect
A study by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers has found that childhood trauma is linked to abnormal connectivity in the brain in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). The paper, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is the first data-driven study to show symptom-specific, system-level changes in brain network connectivity in MDD.
MDD is a common mental disorder characterized by a variety of symptoms - including persistently depressed mood, loss of interest, low energy, insomnia or hypersomnia, and more. These symptoms impair daily life and increase the risk of suicide. Experiences of childhood trauma, including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, as well as physical or emotional neglect, have been associated with the emergence and persistence of depressive and anxiety disorders. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying MDD are still largely unknown.Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging and studied brain activity of people with MDD to arrive at the conclusion.