The effects of childhood maltreatment on brain structure, function and connectivity

  title={The effects of childhood maltreatment on brain structure, function and connectivity},
  author={Martin H. Teicher and Jacqueline A. Samson and Carl M. Anderson and Kyoko Ohashi},
  journal={Nature Reviews Neuroscience},
Maltreatment-related childhood adversity is the leading preventable risk factor for mental illness and substance abuse. Although the association between maltreatment and psychopathology is compelling, there is a pressing need to understand how maltreatment increases the risk of psychiatric disorders. Emerging evidence suggests that maltreatment alters trajectories of brain development to affect sensory systems, network architecture and circuits involved in threat detection, emotional regulation… 

Neurocognitive Adaptation and Mental Health Vulnerability Following Maltreatment: The Role of Social Functioning

Key findings from the psychological and epidemiological literature indicating that early maltreatment experience compromises social functioning and attenuates social support in ways that increase mental health vulnerability are highlighted.

Enduring effect of abuse: Childhood maltreatment links to altered theory of mind network among adults

The results suggest that CM has a significant effect on the modulation of FC within theory of mind (ToM) network even decades later in adulthood, and inform a new framework to account for how CM results in the development of impulsivity.

Neurobiological Consequences of Neglect and Abuse

It is concluded that the brain demonstrates notable plasticity early in life as evidenced by significant changes following maltreatment, as well as the potential for remarkable recovery following intervention.

Psychobiological Consequences of Child Maltreatment

The results suggest that childhood trauma in humans is associated with sensitization of the stress response, glucocorticoid resistance, decreased oxytocin activity, inflammation, reduced hippocampal volume, and changes in cortical fields that are implicated in the perception or processing of the abuse.

Neurobiological Development in the Context of Childhood Trauma

The neurobiological impact of exposure to interpersonal trauma in childhood in the context of executive function, emotion regulation, and dissociation/interoceptive awareness is addressed and the pathway of risk from childhood trauma to these cognitive, emotional, and psychiatric outcomes is addressed.

Additional Insights into the Relationship Between Brain Network Architecture and Susceptibility and Resilience to the Psychiatric Sequelae of Childhood Maltreatment

It is reported that network vulnerability increases progressively during late adolescence to plateau at about 21 years of age, which may help to explain age of onset of psychopathology.

Childhood adversities and bipolar disorder: a neuroimaging focus

Examination of existing literature discussing the association between CAs and brain alterations in BD patients showed that CAs are associated with volume alterations of several grey matter regions including the hippocampus, thalamus, amygdala and frontal cortex.

Neurobehavioural mechanisms of threat generalization moderate the link between childhood maltreatment and psychopathology in emerging adulthood

The results suggest that threat generalization mechanisms may moderate the link between childhood maltreatment and subclinical psychopathology during emerging adulthood.

In young women, a link between childhood abuse and subliminal processing of aversive cues is moderated by impulsivity

Background Childhood maltreatment is a serious public health concern. The association between child maltreatment, adverse behaviors, mental health outcomes, and alterations to brain function and



Annual Research Review: Enduring neurobiological effects of childhood abuse and neglect.

This review aims to synthesize neuroimaging findings in children who experienced caregiver neglect as well as from studies in children, adolescents and adults who experienced physical, sexual and emotional abuse to provide preliminary answers to questions regarding the importance of type and timing of exposure, gender differences, reversibility and the relationship between brain changes and psychopathology.

Childhood maltreatment is associated with altered fear circuitry and increased internalizing symptoms by late adolescence

Using resting-state functional brain connectivity in adolescents, it is shown that maltreatment predicts lower prefrontal–hippocampal connectivity in females and males but lower amygdala–subgenual cingulate connectivity only in females, and that rs-FC mediated the association of maltreatment during childhood with adolescent internalizing symptoms.

Childhood maltreatment and psychopathology affect brain development during adolescence.

White Matter Disruptions in Adolescents Exposed to Childhood Maltreatment and Vulnerability to Psychopathology

Preliminary results suggest that white matter disruptions observed in adolescents exposed to childhood maltreatment may be associated with increased vulnerability to psychopathology, specifically depressive and substance use disorders.

Childhood maltreatment, altered limbic neurobiology, and substance use relapse severity via trauma-specific reductions in limbic gray matter volume.

Findings indicate that CM was related to decreased GMV in limbic regions, which in turn predicted increased risk of relapse in SUD, and that SUD treatment planning may benefit from identifying and addressing CM.

Early Stress Is Associated with Alterations in the Orbitofrontal Cortex: A Tensor-Based Morphometry Investigation of Brain Structure and Behavioral Risk

It is shown that alterations in the orbitofrontal cortex among individuals who experienced physical abuse are related to social difficulties, suggesting a biological mechanism linking early social learning to later behavioral outcomes.