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      Early Adverse Experiences and the Developing Brain

      review-article
      1 , 2 , 1 , 2 , 3 , *
      Neuropsychopharmacology
      Nature Publishing Group

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          Abstract

          Children exposed to various forms of adversity early in life are at increased risk for a broad range of developmental difficulties, affecting both cognitive and emotional adjustment. We review a growing body of evidence suggesting that exposure to adverse circumstances affects the developing brain in ways that increase risk for a myriad of problems. We focus on two forms of adversity, one in which children are exposed to childhood maltreatment in family environments, and another in which children are exposed to extreme psychosocial deprivation in contexts of institutional rearing. We discuss ways in which each of these experiences represent violations of species-expected caregiving conditions, thereby imposing challenges to the developing brain. We also review emerging data pointing to the effectiveness of early intervention in remediating neurodevelopmental consequences associated with maltreatment or institutional rearing. We conclude by discussing implications of this work for public health efforts and highlight important directions for the field.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Neuropsychopharmacology
          Neuropsychopharmacology
          Neuropsychopharmacology
          Nature Publishing Group
          0893-133X
          1740-634X
          January 2016
          03 September 2015
          28 October 2015
          : 41
          : 1
          : 177-196
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital , Boston, MA, USA
          [2 ] Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
          [3 ] Harvard Graduate School of Education, Boston, MA, USA
          Author notes
          [* ] Department of Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital , 1 Autumn Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA, Tel: +1 617 355 0401, Fax: +1 617 730 0518, E-mail: Charles.Nelson@ 123456childrens.harvard.edu
          Article
          PMC4677140 PMC4677140 4677140 npp2015252
          10.1038/npp.2015.252
          4677140
          26334107
          c3cd10e4-37a1-4c05-a2c4-a639f24f4a11
          Copyright © 2016 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
          History
          : 18 April 2015
          : 12 August 2015
          : 14 August 2015
          Categories
          Neuropsychopharmacology Reviews

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