Monday, January 9, 2012

Potential link between child abuse and mental illnesses?

Reference: Reuters, Thomson. "Child abuse changes the brain, study finds." MSNBC 12/05/11. .

This study was led by Eamon McCrory of the University College London. This article does not directly say who sponsored this research, but the study was published in the journal Current Biology. A sponsor (such as a scientific journal) would want to prove the link between child abuse and mental impacts (such as the development of depression) because they can provide hard evidence that this social behavior is wrong and has noticeable ill effects. With solid evidence, people will be more likely to advocate support for children who are abused and be willing to find ways to prevent it. This study used a sample size of 43 children. There was a control group of 20 children that was compared to a test group of 23. While the children were exposed to faces with different emotional expressions, their brains were scanned using an fMRI. The results show that the children who were exposed to violence showed increase brain activity in response to angry faces. Comparing this study to previous studies, researchers found the same brain patterns in the children exposed to domestic violence as soldiers who were exposed to violence in war. No graphs are used in this study.

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