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Effects of Childhood Trauma

In this thought-provoking TED Talk, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, paediatrician, author, and former Surgeon General of California reveals the research on how childhood trauma affects lifelong health. She explains that childhood trauma affects children’s brain development. As well as having lifelong impacts on the immune system, hormonal system, and even genetics.

In easily understandable language, she explains the results of one of the most well-known studies in this field: the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study. She goes on to explain the startling results of this study. Childhood trauma is associated with triple the lifetime risk of heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. It is also associated with a 20-year difference in life expectancy. Dr. Burke Harris explains that the study showed a dose-response relationship between the ACE scores and certain health outcomes. Harris explains that as a paediatrician, many of the kids that she saw had symptoms of ADHD. However, it seemed that the trauma they experienced was really at the root of what was affecting them. 

Dr. Burke Harris calls us to action: why has this research not drastically changed all of clinical practice? There are so many implications of this research. She highlights that we need to screen people for ACEs; use preventive medicine, have interdisciplinary, holistic approaches; educate parents on ACEs; and help people process trauma and rebalance their sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

To watch this thought-provoking and popular TED Talk and learn about how childhood trauma affects the brain and body and what we can do about this, click here.

Image Credits:
Feature Image: RDNE Stock project, On Pexels. Creative Commons.