Violence ages children’s DNA, shortens their chromosomes

April 26, 2012 Comments Off on Violence ages children’s DNA, shortens their chromosomes

Violence ages children’s DNA, shortens their chromosomes

By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY

….Study finds that exposure to violence can cause changes in DNA leading to seven to 10 years of premature aging.

In fact, a new study suggests that violence leaves long-term scars on children’s bodies – not just in bruises on the skin, but also altering their DNA, causing changes that are equivalent to seven to 10 years of premature aging.

Scientists measured this cellular aging by studying the ends of children’s chromosomes, called telomeres, according to Idan Shalev, lead author of a study in today’s Molecular Psychiatry.

Telomeres are special DNA sequences that act like the plastic tips on shoelaces, which prevent the DNA in chromosomes from unraveling. They get shorter each time a cell divides, until a cell can’t divide anymore and it dies….

In this study, researchers examined whether exposure to violence could make children’s telomeres shorten faster than normal. They interviewed the mothers of 236 children at ages 5, 7 and 10, asking whether the youngsters had been exposed to domestic violence between the mother and her partner; physical maltreatment by an adult; or bullying. Researchers measured the children’s telomeres — in cells obtained by swabbing the insides of their cheeks — at ages 5 and 10.

Telomeres shortened faster in kids exposed to two or more types of violence, says Shalev, a post-doctoral researcher at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy in Durham, N.C. Unless that pattern changes, the study suggests, these kids could be expected to develop diseases of aging, such as heart attacks or memory loss, seven to 10 years earlier than their peers….

The study confirms a small-but-growing number of studies suggesting that early childhood adversity imprints itself in our chromosomes, says Charles Nelson, a professor of pediatrics and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School.

In a 2011 study, Nelson and colleagues found shorter telomeres in Romanian children who had spent more time in institutions, compared with children sent to foster care.http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-04-24/violence-cellular-mark/54493338/1?csp=34news

Molecular Psychiatry , (24 April 2012) | doi:10.1038/mp.2012.32
Exposure to violence during childhood is associated with telomere erosion from 5 to 10 years of age: a longitudinal study
I Shalev, T E Moffitt, K Sugden, B Williams, R M Houts, A Danese, J Mill, L Arseneault and A Caspi

Abstract
There is increasing interest in discovering mechanisms that mediate the effects of childhood stress on late-life disease morbidity and mortality. Previous studies have suggested one potential mechanism linking stress to cellular aging, disease and mortality in humans: telomere erosion. We examined telomere erosion in relation to children’s exposure to violence, a salient early-life stressor, which has known long-term consequences for well-being and is a major public-health and social-welfare problem. In the first prospective-longitudinal study with repeated telomere measurements in children while they experienced stress, we tested the hypothesis that childhood violence exposure would accelerate telomere erosion from age 5 to age 10 years. Violence was assessed as exposure to maternal domestic violence, frequent bullying victimization and physical maltreatment by an adult. Participants were 236 children (49% females; 42% with one or more violence exposures) recruited from the Environmental-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative 1994–1995 birth cohort. ….Compared with their counterparts, the children who experienced two or more kinds of violence exposure showed significantly more telomere erosion between age-5 baseline and age-10 follow-up measurements, even after adjusting for sex, socioeconomic status and body mass index (B=-0.052, s.e.=0.021, P=0.015). This finding provides support for a mechanism linking cumulative childhood stress to telomere maintenance, observed already at a young age, with potential impact for life-long health. http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/mp201232a.html

Deprivation and Neglect, Man accused of sexual assaults at Rockford day care

May 19, 2011 Comments Off on Deprivation and Neglect, Man accused of sexual assaults at Rockford day care

Studies in institutionalized Romanian children have found that the length of time spent in conditions of social deprivation and neglect correlates with lower IQ and behavioral problems.

A new study, led by researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston and Tulane University, shows that early adversity even affects children’s chromosomes — prematurely shortening the chromosome tips, known as telomeres, and hastening how quickly their cells “age.”

The study, published online this week in Molecular Psychiatry, is the first to find an association between adversity and telomere length in children. It is part of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP), which is conducting a long-term clinical trial tracking two groups of institutionalized children: those who remained in the institution and those who were removed to high-quality foster care at varying ages.

Laboratory studies, conducted by Stacy Drury and colleagues at Tulane University, examined DNA samples collected from mouth swabs of the Romanian children (62 boys and 47 girls). The studies found that children exposed longer to institutional care before age 5 had significantly shorter relative telomere length (compared to that expected for their age) when they reached age 6-10….

S S Drury, K Theall, M M Gleason, A T Smyke, I De Vivo, J Y Y Wong, N A Fox, C H Zeanah, C A Nelson. Telomere length and early severe social deprivation: linking early adversity and cellular aging. Molecular Psychiatry, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2011.53
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517091937.htm

Man accused of sexual assaults at Rockford day care By Matt Williams RRSTAR.COM May 17, 2011  ROCKFORD

A Rockford day care worker has been charged with sexually assaulting at least two individuals who used the day care.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced the charges against Kevin Yates, 56, of Rockford, saying it is believed that Yates sexually assaulted a 5-year-old and a teenager while working at Tiny Tots Daycare on Château Lane.

Yates is charged with two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, three counts of criminal sexual assault and nine counts of criminal sexual abuse.

Bruscato said the range of victims are both male and female, and he is not ruling out that more children could be involved.
http://www.rrstar.com/news/x243995037/Man-accused-of-sexual-assaults-at-Rockford-day-care

US Catholic Church new child sex abuse scandal, trafficking of women

August 20, 2010 Comments Off on US Catholic Church new child sex abuse scandal, trafficking of women

also :
Childhood stress leads to adult ill health, studies say
Half the Sky: how the trafficking of women today is on a par with genocide

US Catholic Church tarred with new child sex abuse scandal
(AFP) – 8/19/10 LOS ANGELES – The Roman Catholic Church in the United States has become embroiled in a new pedophilia scandal with six women and one man alleging sexual abuse by a priest over three decades. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Oakland, California accused Father Stephen Kiesle of acts of sexual abuse between 1972 and 2001, and alleged that Catholic Church officials knew of the crimes but did not stop them….”The Catholic bishops in the United States of America and the Holy See have long facilitated the sexual molestation of children by engaging in the harboring and protection of known child molesting priests,” read a copy of the latest lawsuit obtained by AFP. “The bishops and Catholic hierarchs have done so to prevent the priests from being prosecuted and to avoid scandal,” the lawsuit read.

It said church figures “have subjected Catholic families and children in these communities to known pedophiles, counting on the devotion and reverence in the communities to keep any further abuse by the priests secret.” The plaintiffs, six women and one man, said they were abused by Kiesle throughout childhood and adolescence, although one alleged victim, Teresa Rosson, 48, said she suffered abuse at the hand of the cleric until about a decade ago….The church paid out 436 million dollars in 2008 for sex abuse cases involving clergy members, according to an official report last year. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gQBBSk_uYg4jA3-9tCdlGsxSDhnw

Half the Sky: how the trafficking of women today is on a par with genocide

The authors of a new book, Half the Sky, say the slavery and abuse of women is the greatest moral outrage of our century
Ed Pilkington The Guardian,  19 August 2010….The story of Neth and Momm is just a small indication of the lengths Kristof and WuDunn are prepared to go to expose the injustices that they see in the modern world. Buying up child prostitutes is pretty extreme, but no more than the message they are seeking to deliver in their groundbreaking book, Half the Sky.

In it, they argue that the world is in the grip of a massive moral outrage no less egregious in scale or in the intensity of despair than the African slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries or the genocides of the 20th. They believe this outrage is a key factor behind many of the most pressing economic and political issues today, from famine in Africa to Islamist terrorism and climate change. Yet they say the phenomenon is largely hidden, invisible to most of us and passing relatively unreported. At worst it is actively tolerated; at best it is ignored….WuDunn chimes in: “When you hear that 60 to 100 million females are missing in the current population, we thought that number compares in the scope and size. And then you compare the slave trade at its peak in the 1780s, when there were 80,000 slaves transported from Africa to the New World, and you see there are now 10 times that amount of women trafficked across international borders, so you start to think you are talking about comparable weight.”….Half the Sky: How to Change the World by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is published by Virago http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/aug/19/women-slavery-half-the-sky

Half the Sky: how the other half suffer    Half the Sky has been described as ‘a brutal awakening’ and is a bestseller in the US. But can its accounts of violence and injustice to women in the developing world really come as such a surprise?
Germaine Greer The Guardian….The book lays out “an agenda for the world’s women focusing on three particular abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence, including honour killings and mass rape; and maternal mortality, which still needlessly claims one woman a minute”. Gender-based violence here includes wife-beating in Asia, but not wife-killing in Britain or America. “Rape has become endemic in South Africa” we learn – as if rape had not coexisted with apartheid.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/31/half-the-sky-germaine-greer

Childhood stress leads to adult ill health, studies say
Stress in childhood has long-term effects say psychologists   14 August 2010 Adversity and stress early in life leads to long-term ill health and early death, a group of psychologists warn. A series of studies suggest that childhood stress caused by poverty or abuse can lead to heart disease, inflammation, and speed up cell ageing. The American Psychological Association meeting heard that early experiences “cast a long shadow” on health….

Another study presented at the conference showed that childhood events such as the death of a parent or abuse can make people more vulnerable to the effects of stress in later life and even shorten lifespan. Researchers at Ohio State University looked at a group of older adults – some of whom were carers for people with dementia. They measured several markers of inflammation in the blood which can be signs of stress, as well as the length of telomeres – protective caps on the ends of chromosomes which have been linked to age-related diseases. The 132 participants also answered a questionnaire on depression and past child abuse and neglect.

A third study reported some sort of physical, emotional or sexual abuse during childhood. Those who did face adversity as children had shorter telomeres and increased levels of inflammation even after controlling for age, care-giving status, gender, body mass index, exercise and sleep. Study leader Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, said: “Our latest research shows that childhood adversity casts a long shadow on one’s health and can lead to inflammation and cell ageing much earlier than for those who haven’t experienced these events. “Those reporting multiple adversities could shorten their lifespan by seven to 15 years,” she added. Dr Andrea Danese, a clinical lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, said such studies had to be interpreted carefully because there is a chance that people do not recall their childhoods accurately and you can only show an association not prove causality. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe these results.

“The evidence is quite consistent. “It’s already been established that childhood stress has an effect on mental health and it now seems like it has an enduring effect on physical health.” He said that stress causes an increase in inflammatory proteins which could underpin the physical consequences suggested by the research.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-10965862

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